Medical making refers to the use of digital fabrication technologies, such as 3D printing, to create medical devices and assistive technologies. This research area has gained significant attention in recent years, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, when the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies prompted maker communities to mobilize and produce these items.
Studies have shown that medical making can be a complex and dynamic process that involves balancing the clinical value of safety with the maker value of broadened participation in design and production. It can also involve navigating regulatory, material, and human constraints, as well as aligning with the “do no harm” ethos of the medical field.
Medical making has been studied through a variety of methods, including ethnographic studies of maker communities, interviews with medical makers, participant observation of online maker communities, and qualitative analysis of stakeholder engagement in prototyping experiences.
Trends in medical making research include the need for design tools that enable adaptation to a wider range of domains, the importance of portability of designs across different types of printers, the role of regulatory bodies in building coalitions with makers, and the need for online platforms to give communities more control over the presentation of information.
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- Medical maker response to COVID-19: Distributed manufacturing infrastructure for stopgap protective equipment
- The right to help and the right help: fostering and regulating collective action in a medical making reaction to COVID-19
- “Point-of-Care Manufacturing” Maker Perspectives on Digital Fabrication in Medical Practice
- “Occupational Therapy is Making” Clinical Rapid Prototyping and Digital Fabrication
- Clinical and maker perspectives on the design of assistive technology with rapid prototyping technologies