When was the last time visual effects artists and doctors collaborated to change the world?
AMA is proud to have collaborated with Dr Hong Sheng Chiong, founder of OphthalmicDocs, a charity and social enterprise focusing on creating affordable tools and diagnostic device. Dr Hong has developed a 3D Printed device (less than $100 NZD) that latches onto doctors’ iPhones for eye exams with as much detail and accuracy as traditional $45,000 machines. These devices have been released to the public, open-sourced, with more than 5,000 downloaded in 2 months from all over the world, particularly in rural areas where expensive machines are hard to come by, afford, and harder to transport.
Medical research is entering an exciting new phase: replicating human organs for surgical planning to save lives. For example, patients with tumours or life-threatening blood vessel disorders such as aneurysms have one shot at corrective surgery. The strategy is to take CT/MRI scans, clean up unnecessary parts using 3D sculpting software (such as ZBrush), and 3D print the patient’s affected area so surgeons are able to practice on a to-scale model in order to ensure the surgery is successful.
Our work with OphthalmicDocs followed this pipeline – we received the confidential MRI scans, worked with Dr Hong to clean up the scans, and printed multiple prototypes in accordance with our physical measurements of patients to ensure a perfect fit. With this new knowledge came an exciting opportunity: we recently filmed a mini-documentary with Dr Mimi Chiu about a Gisborne local, Graham, and his story about losing his entire eye to cancer a few years ago. Prosthesis experts told him nothing was possible to fit securely into the empty socket, but we knew better. The video shows our 3D scanning and printing his prosthetic eye, and has been entered in the RANZCO Film Festival held in Wellington later this year.