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Academic Prologue Challenges Students to Create Medical Devices with 3D Printers

Over 120 new students from the School of Applied Life Sciences (SALS) spent a week working on a project that required they make medical devices with the use of a 3D printer.

The project, which was part of Academic Prologue, was designed to encourage new students to think out of the box, take ownership of a project and learn to work in teams. The project was an opportunity for students to become comfortable with the style of group and project based work they will encounter while at KGI.

Steve Capser, Dean of the School of Applied Life Sciences, said: “Besides being fun, the project introduces important skills and habits of mind that we believe all scientists looking to move into industry should have: teamwork, the ability to work on an interdisciplinary project combining science, medicine, and business, and strong communication skills.”

More specifically, the project combines engineering and design work with 3D printers with a consulting style analysis exploring the market potential of a 3D printed medical implant technology. All teams presented their findings to a panel of KGI faculty, students, and industry guests. Among one of the winning groups was “Chin Up,” which explored the utility, risks and market potential of custom designed 3D printed chin implants for cosmetic use.

Anna Hickerson, Professor of Practice, Medical Device Engineering and Program Director, MBS in Medical Devices and Diagnostics discussed the project’s importance: “The incoming students all participate in the Academic Prologue project. They get to experience the active, team-based learning that is used throughout the program. In this project, the students were asked to evaluate opportunities for 3D printing of medical implants. To give a more realistic sense of the technology, its capabilities, and limitations, the students got a hand’s-on experience with our 3D printers.”

Academic Prologue also included topics such as Ethics and Regulatory Affairs, Business of Bioscience, Clinical and Medical Risk, Presentation Skills, and Design and Prototyping.

View photos of student projects.