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3D printed medical manikin helps with COVID-19 swab training

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Q & M Dental Group engaged Creatz3D, a Singapore 3D printing solutions provider, to produce a 3D printed medical manikin that could help with learning and accelerate training. With swab testing becoming part of the new road map, as COVID-19 in Singapore transitions from a pandemic to a more endemic challenge, the company needed to develop rapid training methods for proper swabbing techniques.

Q & M had done a review of some manikins from their online search. However, they were not life-sized, lacked notable anatomical features, and weren’t suitable as a tactile tool for teaching swabbing procedures.

3D printed medical manikin helps with COVID-19 swab training Their search led them to a personalized life-size 3D printed medical manikin developed by Creatz3D, which matched their requirements precisely. The manikin had proof of adoption by a local healthcare establishment for swabbing training in 2020 and came from a collaborative effort with their subsidiary, AuMed, a bespoke medical simulator company.

Quick turnaround 

The manikin was designed with a cross-sectional view to better display anatomical features when practicing with a medical-grade swab test stick. By incorporating four different materials and four different colors, the 3D printed medical manikin provided distinct simulation and differentiation of soft tissues for tactile feedback.

In making the original manikin, AuMed was challenged by the lack of CT & MRI DICOM data for the design coupled with a tight deadline. However, with their accumulated expertise in working with the healthcare sector, the AuMed team managed to seek out different anatomical 3D models derived from their own CT and MRI library before fusing them to form a hybrid human head.

3D printed medical manikin helps with COVID-19 swab training Instead of months to produce the manikin with traditional manufacturing, the 3D printed manikin was produced in one print with drastically reduced lead time – 5 working days of 3D printing, including CAD designing and post-processing.

A personalized approach

After a hands-on training session with the manikin, Q & M looked to personalize the manikin further in order to take trainees’ understanding of the swabbing procedures to the next level, indirectly improving their overall learning experience. A couple of iterations were thus proposed and then subsequently implemented.

“Our focus was to find models with a cross-sectional view of the nose area, so that we could teach learners about specific anatomical landmarks and what to watch out for while swabbing. We wanted a model that could let us explain procedures effortlessly to a non-medical trained person,” said Joseph Lua, an associate at Q & M Dental Group.

This personalized approach illustrated the flexibility and adaptability of multi-material 3D printing in adapting quickly to customers’ requirements.


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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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