By Dave Weatherall
Collaboration is at the heart of all Makerspaces and uOttawa’s is no exception. After a uOttawa Makerspace 3D printing workshop at the Health Sciences Library in 2015, Faculty of Medicine professor Dr. Alireza Jalali, with the support of the Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS) uOttawa section, purchased two 3-D printers for research project in collaboration with medical student, Aili Wang.
At the conclusion of the project, Jalali decided to share the technology with his peers by leaving the printer in the Health Sciences Library.
“By housing the 3-D printer in the Health Sciences Library, we aspire to expand the use of this 21st century educational tool to other faculties, educators and students,” said Dr. Jalali.
The new service has already led to a number of collaborations with others at the Roger Guindon campus, including uOttawa professor Edward Lemaire, whose team is building a 3D scanner for the CRRD Rehabilitation Technology Lab that requires very specific parts to mount the 36 Raspberry Pi cameras needed to create a 3D file.
“Having access to 3D printing at the Health Sciences Library opens up many possibilities, from our initial need for making a small number of specific parts to making prototype devices that support ongoing research, development and learning activities,” said Lemaire.
Given the initial interest in 3D printing and its potential applications for medicine and health sciences, the library has decided to offer the technology free of charge to all uOttawa medicine and health sciences students, professors, researchers and staff, as a pilot project.
“By combining 3D human body scanning, design and 3D printing capabilities, we can advance how health care-related devices interact with the body. This can be from functional and aesthetic perspectives, since body-worn devices are an extension of ourselves,” says Talia Chung, interim director of the Health Sciences Library. “The Faculty of Engineering’s Makerspace program has acted as a catalyst for those outside of engineering who have an interest in maker technology, such as 3D printing and virtual reality.”
Chung is hoping the 3D printer at the Health Sciences Library will help develop an active and creative “makerhealth” community among health sciences and medical students, professors and researchers.