Canadian Firm Plans to Make More 3D-Printed Medical Devices in St. Louis

    By Kathleen Berger, Executive Producer for Science & Technology

    Jon Phillips, founder of The Fabricatorz Foundation, is leading the production of 3D printed stethoscopes in St. Louis for Glia, a Canadian medical device manufacturer. Phillips said one part of the stethoscope is a particular tube, which is a common hardware supply.

    “This is what gives you about one thousand percent better sound quality,” said Phillips. “If sound is the most important thing in a stethoscope, then we’ve got that box checked.”

    The idea stems from the war-torn Gaza Strip where Phillips said Glia’s founder worked tirelessly to provide healthcare and medical devices. Now, the Glia team in Gaza and St. Louis benefit from using 3D printers. One stethoscope costs just $5 to make and sells for $30.

    And it’s an open source design, meaning it’s shared for anyone in the world as the design is publically accessible.

    Phillips explained Glia is making open source medical devices to help provide care in places where health care is lacking.

    Phillips said Glia is also leading a campaign to mass produce open source 3D printed tourniquets. According to Glia, so far over 1,000 of these have been deployed in the field to treat critical bleeding injuries.

    “To immobilize the injured,” said Phillips. “This is a simple method, a simple way so that you can have it in an emergency kit. You need something that’s light and firm and that’s why you need 3D printing as it produces extremely strong and thin and light parts.”