In 1983, Chuck Hall, the father of 3D printing, created something that was equal parts simple and earth-shattering. He manufactured the world’s first-ever 3D printer and used it to print a tiny eye wash cup. It was just a cup. It was small and black and utterly ordinary looking. But that cup paved the way for a quiet revolution, one that today is changing the healthcare industry in dramatic ways.
As healthcare costs in America continue to skyrocket, with no political solution in sight, this technology could offer some direly needed relief.
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When people talk about the future of the health sector, we normally understand that to mean preventive medicine, tailored healthcare, automating certain surgical operations using robots, aggregating patient data to establish a more accurate health profile and – not least – all the new apps that allow us to track the state of our bodies on a daily basis.
Optimising treatments through computing
With its extraordinary computing power, a quantum computer is potentially able to solve highly complex problems, in particular optimisation issues. In the field of healthcare, quantum computers will ‟make it easier to analyse genetic information and identify a person’s genetic heritage,” Murray Thom, Director of Professional Services at D-Wave, one of the first companies to develop commercial applications for quantum computers, explained to L’Atelier, adding: ‟Researchers will then be able to use this information to decide on treatment options.”
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The scientist has made a career of replacing invasive, painful, and dangerous procedures with simple, cheap tests that can be performed almost anywhere.
Just this year, a blood panel he developed to detect genetic birth defects has been taken by more than three million women, replacing the need for amniocentesis and giant, uterus-puncturing needles. At the WIRED25 Summit Monday morning, Quake pronounced, perhaps jokingly, that colonoscopies were next. Vigorous applause ensued.
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