National Geographic : 2019 Jan
MEDICINE | THE BIG IDEA 34 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTO: BRUNA BORTOLATO Many artificial limbs still begin with a plaster cast. Transforming that mold into a socket that comfortably fits the residual limb is an expen- sive and halting process—if you’re lucky enough to live near a trained prosthetist. Many amputees world- wide don’t have access to prosthetic limbs. Mobile phones and 3D print- ing may offer a solution, says Albert Yu-Min Lin, a National Geographic explorer who lost part of his leg in 2016. Phone cameras could scan residual limbs, providing measure- ments to professionals with 3D printers, who would produce match- ing low-cost sockets to be shipped to amputees all over the world. — CHRISTINA NUNEZ PROSTHETICS 3D PRINT REMEDIES THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE LOSE LIMBS EVERY YEAR. LOW-COST TECH COULD HELP THEM. See Albert Lin, shown here at Arizona’s Antelope Canyon, on the TV series Explorer. It returns with new episodes on January 7 at 10/9c on National Geographic.