Although high-end 3D printing has been available for several decades, it is becoming more affordable and easier to use. A 3D printer creates a physical object from a computer image (e.g., *.obj or *.stl files) by successively layering of material, often plastic. For a short video demonstration of 3D printing, watch:
3D printing is a real-life technology, especially in health and medical areas, so students need to be aware of this technology—how it works, as well as its technical capabilities, current applications, and future possibilities. Additionally, instructors can create and use 3D models of bones, organs, and systems to better demonstrate concepts and processes. Or, students can create these models themselves, which can require applying and analyzing with these ideas. To learn more about how educators are using 3D printing, see:
To see what 3D objects are already available, explore:
http://www.thingiverse.com (Repository of 3D objects shared around the world)
http://www.digimorph.org (Library of digital biological specimens, including many 3D objects)
If you're interested in adding 3D printing to your course, please contact your TLT Liaison (firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-588-7107).