3D printing aids crisis response

Elvina Motard, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) technical team leader and her team have been experimenting with 3D printing and virtual reality to improve the design and effectiveness of hospitals and training programmes for field staff.

Until recently, MSF used 2D drawings when designing hospitals. But for medical staff and others unfamiliar with architectural design, such drawings can be hard to visualise as real structures. Today the organisation uses 3D printed models to help the process. Medical staff, architects and engineers can get together, discuss what the medical needs and contextual constraints are, and use 3D models of buildings, equipment and technical elements to design the best possible hospital.

Similarly, virtual reality programs that enable users to navigate hospitals can immerse staff in their design and acclimatise new field staff to the environments to which they will be exposed.  MSF is planning further uses for these technologies.

Listen to an interview on SciDev.net