To date, there has been little study in the use of telesurgery and innovative technologies, such as, 3D printed medical and surgical tools in an integrated approach to Search and Rescue (SAR) and onsite telesurgery and medical emergency, medical tele-triage during operational protocols and procedures during isolation and confinement in extreme environments on Earth or during Exploration Space Missions. Additionally, there has been very little research in using innovative technologies with the expanding telemedicine platform in training non-surgical, non-medical crews in extreme environments for space medicine.
However, the testing of 3D printing technology and use of 3D printed surgical tools in space is now a real possibility with the recent launching of the Zero-G 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS) by the company MadeInSpace. A recent study was conducted to address the question: What kind of medical supplies will be needed on a long-duration Mars mission? If you can’t take everything with you, then you’ll have to 3D print them on demand and in real-time. Dr Susan Jewell, Founder/President, MarsWithoutBorders, MWOB, and Commander of MWOB Expedition One Crew 145, was the Project Lead of 3D Printing of Surgical Tools for telesurgery training of non-medical and/or minimally-trained medical crew analog astronauts.
Credit: Jewell/MWOB Testing 3D Printer Technology and 3D Printed Surgical tools during telesurgery training of Analog Astronauts
DESIGNING & TESTING SOLAR POWER 3D PRINTER FOR SPACE
During the MWOB Expedition 1, a solar powered D printer was designed and tested to print 3D printed surgical and life support accessories. The design was created by Crew engineer, Matteo Borri, and six modular solar cells were connected in such a way to give 27 volt nominal output. More details and the open source design for the 3D solar powered printer is available at Robots-Everywhere website.
Read the research article published in 3DPrint.com about the use of 3D printing technology on analog “Mars” and the research in telesurgery training of non-medically trained analog astronauts using 3D Printed Surgical Tools.