3D printing is already helping those with disabilities live better lives with 3D printed fingers and even prosthetic arms. Now British engineers from Manchester Metropolitan University and Fripp Design and Research have collaborated to 3D print realistic prosthetic eyes.
“The technicality in customising an iris is very demanding and although we haven’t perfected it yet, we are working on it!”, Fripp Design’s owner Tom Fripp told Dezeen
The 3D printed eyes can be produced in a fraction of the time of a conventional hand-painted eye and for a fraction of the cost. A typical hand painted eye can cost up to $5,000 each and it can take several week for the patient to receive the prosthetic.
A 3D printed eye is created digitally, using the persons eye image overlaid onto a 3D form, and then printed for as little as $100. Up to 150 per hour can be produced from the 3D printer.
Although the technique for making a 3D printed eye has not quite been perfected yet Fripp Design are confident that they will start to sell them in the next 12 months. However, there are certain problems associated with being a manufacturer of artificial eyes.