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Humanos 3D Transforms Lives with 3D Printed Prosthetics – Interview with Esteban Rojas Muñoz

Humanos 3D is a non-profit organisation founded in Colombia in 2017, with a mission to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through 3D printing technology. The team specialises in designing and manufacturing affordable and customised assistive devices and prosthetics for those who need them most. In an interview with 3Druck.com, Esteban Rojas Muñoz, bioengineer and CEO of Humanos 3D, shares his insights into the organisation’s life-changing work and explains the role of 3D printing and 3D scanning technology in improving the manufacturing process and increasing the availability of prosthetics.

Since its inception, Humanos 3D has worked tirelessly to develop a variety of devices, including upper limb prosthetics, splints and other orthopaedic equipment. The team uses advanced 3D scanning and printing technologies to create solutions that are specifically tailored to the individual needs of the user. This personalised approach not only ensures a perfect and comfortable fit, but also enhances functionality and integration into the users’ daily lives.

The process starts with identifying and assessing the needs of its beneficiaries. Through strategic partnerships with hospitals, clinics and community organisations, Humanos 3D reaches the most vulnerable and remote populations. They can then conduct 3D scanning sessions to obtain accurate models of the affected areas, and subsequently design and manufacture the prosthetics using state-of-the-art 3D printers.

Once the devices are manufactured, a rigorous fitting and training process is carried out to ensure that users know how to use them effectively. In addition, the team provides ongoing follow-up to make any necessary adjustments and ensure the long-term satisfaction and well-being of their beneficiaries.

Their commitment to innovation and accessibility has positively impacted the lives of many people, restoring their independence and confidence. The dedicated team at Humanos 3D believe that everyone has the right to live a full and dignified life and they are committed to making this vision a reality every day. 

The organisation’s internship programme offers a unique learning experience for people interested in joining their meaningful work, where they can get their hands on 3D printing, design and robotics for three weeks under the guidance of experts in these fields. The programme will challenge interns to tackle meaningful projects, giving them the opportunity to propose, create and unleash their most disruptive ideas. 

Interview with CEO Esteban Rojas Muñoz

In an interview with 3Druck.com, bioengineer and CEO Esteban Rojas Muñoz explains how 3D printing technology can contribute to making prosthetics more affordable and accessible. He also details the innovations that are playing a key role in improving the comfort for users and speeding up the entire process, before looking ahead to what other benefits 3D printing could bring to the medical sector in the future.

In your opinion, what is the significance of 3D printing technology for the creation of assistive devices such as prosthetics?

3D printing technology is a game changer in the field of assistive devices and prosthetics. It offers unparalleled customisation, cost-effectiveness, speed, innovation, and empowerment, ultimately transforming the lives of individuals with disabilities and promoting greater inclusion and accessibility in society.

In what way do you think that 3D printing can contribute to making prosthetic devices more widely available to people in need of them?

Esteban Rojas Muñoz

3D printing has the potential to significantly increase the availability of prosthetic devices to people in need by addressing several key barriers that currently limit access. I am talking about cost reduction, scalability, customisation and fit because traditional prosthetic devices are often expensive due to the labour intensive production process and the use of specialised materials. 3D printing can dramatically reduce these costs by using more affordable materials and automated production techniques. Also, once a digital model is created, it can be printed multiple times with minimal additional effort; this reduces the time and cost associated with adjustments and increases user comfort and satisfaction.

Additive manufacturing and 3D technology have developed continuously over the last few years. Which innovations or technological breakthroughs do you consider to be particularly important for the work you do?

The evolution of 3D printing materials has greatly expanded the possibilities for prosthetic design. New materials, such as flexible filaments, high-strength polymers, and biocompatible resins offer better durability, flexibility, and comfort. These materials allow us to produce prosthetics that are not only more robust and longer lasting, but also more comfortable for daily use.

Additionally, software improvements have made it more user-friendly, allowing for faster and more efficient design processes.

The integration of sensors and electronics into 3D printed prosthetics has opened new avenues for creating smart prosthetic devices.

The detailed digital models generated by scanners enable us to create custom-fit prosthetics that are more comfortable and functional for the user.


Image: Humanos 3D

What impact do you think additive manufacturing will have on the medical sector and possibly society as a whole in the coming years?

Custom-made implants, such as cranial plates and joint replacements, can be designed to match the exact anatomy of the patient, reducing the risk of complications and speeding up recovery times. Additionally, medical students and professionals can benefit from realistic, hands-on training with 3D printed anatomical models.

One of the most promising advancements is bioprinting, where living cells and biomaterials are used to create tissues and potentially entire organs. This technology could revolutionise organ transplantation by providing an alternative to donor organs, thus addressing the critical shortage of organs available for transplantation and reducing the risk of rejection.

Additive manufacturing will likely transform the medical sector by enabling personalised care, advancing surgical techniques, and making healthcare more accessible and affordable. Its broader societal impact will include improved quality of life, economic growth, educational advancements, environmental sustainability, and community empowerment.

Here you can find further information on Humanos 3D and their work. If you would like to learn more about their internship programme, you can find all the information here.

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