4WEB Medical brings 3D printing implants to Australia
Australia is becoming the global headquarter of a new medical revolution.
As our sister site Healthcare Global recently wrote, the U.S.-based global provider of 3D printed orthopedic implants 4WEB Medical has teamed up with its Aussie partner LifeHealthcare to perform its first Australian patient specific implant surgery last month in Brisbane.
In June, an Australian man became the first in the world to receive a 3D-printed titanium prosthetic jaw with a joint connecting the jawbone to the skull. In a procedure becoming more prevalent in the healthcare industry, 3D printing is when technology is used to create implants in order to help doctors perform both complex life-saving surgeries, as well as implants fit properly with the patient’s body.
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Today, many doctors believe 3D printing is necessary when performing reconstructive surgery for the head, mouth, jaw, face and neck.
Structural engineering has been used on the construction of buildings, roads and bridges for hundreds of years. Now, 4WEB is utilizing these concepts such as truss design to create innovative patient-specific implants.
The largest offering of 3D-printed osteotomy implants on the market, the Osteotomy Truss System is a comprehensive solution for a surgeon’s osteotomy needs. The system also brings an FDA-approved solution closer to a design that is designed for specific needs of the patient.
“The ability to customize the truss implant to match the unique anatomy of an individual patient is a significant advancement in orthopedics,” said Matt Muscio, COO of LIfeHealthcare. “Current porous metal technologies rely on bone attachment, which has shown some drawbacks over time.
“The open architecture truss implant technology provides robust scaffolding for structural support while allowing for osseous incorporation.”
The 4WEB spine truss systems are different than other fusion implants on the market mostly due to the structural mechanics of the implants are designed to distribute loads across the entire endplate and throughout the entire device.
These implants could reduce stress risers and subsidence-related complications, and eventually stimulate a cellular response through a mechanical transduction of strain.
The design and fabrication process includes surgeon participation in a meeting with 4WEB engineers to confer the patient’s current condition and suggested surgical plan. The surgeon is then able to plan bone incisions using 3D software reconstructions of the patient’s anatomy received from a CT scan.
“We are very excited about 4WEB’s first Australian patient specific implant procedure,” said 4WEB president and CEO Jessee Hunt. “While this is our first custom implant procedure completed in Australia, 4WEB has completed nearly 100 custom truss implant procedures performed worldwide dating back to 2011.”
It appears the industry is only getting started with this new innovation.
Chinese Firm Taigusys Launches Emotion-Recognition System
In a detailed investigative report, the Guardian reported that Chinese tech company Taigusys can now monitor facial expressions. The company claims that it can track fake smiles, chart genuine emotions, and help police curtail security threats. ‘Ordinary people here in China aren’t happy about this technology, but they have no choice. If the police say there have to be cameras in a community, people will just have to live with it’, said Chen Wei, company founder and chairman. ‘There’s always that demand, and we’re here to fulfil it’.
Who Will Use the Data?
As of right now, the emotion-recognition market is supposed to be worth US$36bn by 2023—which hints at rapid global adoption. Taigusys counts Huawei, China Mobile, China Unicom, and PetroChina among its 36 clients, but none of them has yet revealed if they’ve purchased the new AI. In addition, Taigusys will likely implement the technology in Chinese prisons, schools, and nursing homes.
It’s not likely that emotion-recognition AI will stay within the realm of private enterprise. President Xi Jinping has promoted ‘positive energy’ among citizens and intimated that negative expressions are no good for a healthy society. If the Chinese central government continues to gain control over private companies’ tech data, national officials could use emotional data for ideological purposes—and target ‘unhappy’ or ‘suspicious’ citizens.
How Does It Work?
Taigusys’s AI will track facial muscle movements, body motions, and other biometric data to infer how a person is feeling, collecting massive amounts of personal data for machine learning purposes. If an individual displays too much negative emotion, the platform can recommend him or her for what’s termed ‘emotional support’—and what may end up being much worse.
Can We Really Detect Human Emotions?
This is still up for debate, but many critics say no. Psychologists still debate whether human emotions can be separated into basic emotions such as fear, joy, and surprise across cultures or whether something more complex is at stake. Many claim that AI emotion-reading technology is not only unethical but inaccurate since facial expressions don’t necessarily indicate someone’s true emotional state.
In addition, Taigusys’s facial tracking system could promote racial bias. One of the company’s systems classes faces as ‘yellow, white, or black’; another distinguishes between Uyghur and Han Chinese; and sometimes, the technology picks up certain ethnic features better than others.
Is China the Only One?
Not a chance. Other countries have also tried to decode and use emotions. In 2007, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched a heavily contested training programme (SPOT) that taught airport personnel to monitor passengers for signs of stress, deception, and fear. But China as a nation rarely discusses bias, and as a result, its AI-based discrimination could be more dangerous.
‘That Chinese conceptions of race are going to be built into technology and exported to other parts of the world is troubling, particularly since there isn’t the kind of critical discourse [about racism and ethnicity in China] that we’re having in the United States’, said Shazeda Ahmed, an AI researcher at New York University (NYU).
Taigusys’s founder points out, on the other hand, that its system can help prevent tragic violence, citing a 2020 stabbing of 41 people in Guangxi Province. Yet top academics remain unconvinced. As Sandra Wachter, associate professor and senior research fellow at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, said: ‘[If this continues], we will see a clash with fundamental human rights, such as free expression and the right to privacy’.