Medical & Dental

ACH Calgary launches medical 3D printing project, invites contributions

It has been reported that the Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH) in Calgary has initiated a new project called kidSIM 3D Printing Challenge. The hospital has invited the public to share various ideas for using 3D printing to benefit their patients’ healthcare experience.

ACH was opened in September 2006 and became the first free-standing pediatric facility to be constructed in Canada in more than 20 years. The medical facility provides care for those up to the age of 17, with over 97,000 children assisted every year.

3D printing in healthcare

Dr. Vince Grant, Associate Professor at the University of Calgary, is project manager for the kidSIM Printing Challenge. The staff hopes to generate ideas from a wider group, rather than only health professionals. Speaking to Canada’s Global News, Dr Grant explained,

“Ideas from the community, [..] patients themselves or their families. What kind of things they struggle with, what could we print that actually might make their life better or easier?”


Dr. Grant intends the project to produce 3D printed products designed for individual patients. His medical staff can then prepare to perform surgeries and other procedures. He explained, “We are rehearsing your child’s surgery on a prototype of your child’s brain.”

Norma Oliver, ACH nurse, highly regards the potential of 3D printing technology to change the lives of young patients at the hospital. She comments,

“[With the help of 3D printing,] You can make tools, you can make toys for the kids, you can make functional aids.”

As often reported, additive manufacturing can also be used as a teaching tool. Dr. Grant continued, “3D printing is relatively new to health care. We can build [..] a human skull or a human brain, a brain that’s sick, [or] a brain that has a tumour.”

ACH 3D printing challenge. Photo via ACH.
ACH 3D printing challenge. Photo via ACH.

kidSIM 3D printing challenge

The deadline for submitting ideas and suggestions using 3D printing is October 31, 2018. Those interested in participating can find more information here.

A timeline has also been published:

Accepting Ideas: October 1, 2018 – October 31, 2018
Idea Evaluation: November 1, 2018 – November 9, 2018
Winners Announced:  November 10, 2018
Prototype Design: November 12, 2018 – November 23, 2018
3D Print Prototypes: November 19, 2018 – November 30, 2018

Selection criteria is based on the idea’s relevance to child healthcare experience, simplicity of implementation, and scalability. Three to four ideas will be selected for further development.

Contributors will retain the ownership of any intellectual property rights that might exist.

Dr. Grant and his team are looking forward to receiving plenty of fascinating ideas. “The sky’s going to be the limit!” he concluded.

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Featured image shows the ACH 3D printing challenge. Photo via ACH.