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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

3D printing is an on demand manufacturing technology, and in a crisis where there’s a shortage of parts and people can’t move around freely it’s come to the rescue.

 

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Technology is arguably playing a greater role in the COVID-19 pandemic we’re all suffering from today than it ever has, whether it’s autonomous vehicles being used to disinfect the streets in China, autonomous robots disinfecting the subways in Hong Kong, drones being used to keep people indoors in Spain, robots serving patients in the US, or supercomputers crunching compounds to find vaccines. And a few days ago another technology, 3D printing came to the rescue after, staff at a hospital in Italy realised they were running out of valves for patients’ respirators, which are essential for the most serious cases of COVID-19, when patients are admitted to the ICU.

 

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The supplier wasn’t able to provide them in the short term, as the company itself was facing a shortage caused by the outbreak. Italy has been hit incredibly hard, resulting in more than 2,500 deaths so far.

 

 

The hospital, located outside Chiari in Lombardy, sent out a distress call through the newspaper Giornale di Brescia, which caught the attention of physicist Massimo Temporelli, founder of FabLab.

FabLab is an Italian company that specialises in innovative manufacturing solutions. However, the restrictions on movement imposed in Italy prevented Temporelli himself, who is based in Milan, from handling the matter.

 

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After searching around, the physicist connected with startup Isinnova, which is based in Brescia — near Chiari, where the hospital is located — and has a 3D printer.

 

 

Isinnova’s Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Ramaioli collaborated with Temporelli and began manufacturing valves in the space of 6 hours.

In a Facebook post, Temporelli announced the moment the team managed to design a working valve which has now been used in the respiratory equipment of 10 admitted patients.

 

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Italy’s Minister of Technological Innovation Paola Pisano acknowledged the achievement and congratulated those involved.

Once the valves are determined to have met all the necessary standards for approval, the team hopes to produce them for all hospitals that need them.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, and Viacom, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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