An exciting crowdfunding campaign to fast track the development of 3D printed prosthetic ears for children born without an ear kicks off recently. The FutureHear crowdfunding campaign is part of a partnership between QUT and Hear and Say, a charity providing hearing, listening and speaking solutions for children, to develop next-generation 3D printed prosthetic ears.
Associate Professor Mia Woodruff, from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said the crowdfunding for FutureHear gave everyone a chance to support world-first medical research to help children with microtia have a normal life.
“No one in the world is researching 3D printing of life-like materials to create external ears,” Professor Woodruff said. Crowdfunding is common nowadays for start-ups and arts projects but it is not the usual route to gaining financial support for biomedical research.”
Professor Woodruff said a further research goal was to produce technology to enable prosthetic ears to be 3D printed as cheaply as the cost of a pair of glasses.
Dr Dimity Dornan AO, Hear and Say’s Founder and Executive Director, said the research collaboration was a step towards the ultimate goal of the FutureHear project which was to develop a living ear with in-built hearing assistance technology.
The FutureHearcrowdfund was launched as part of the eighth Hear and Say Australian Microtia and Atresia Conference. FutureHear is crowdfunded on Pozible.