Students at the Kent State University in Ohio will benefit from a generous $510,000 grant awarded from the State and the Department of Higher Education, which is designed to increase knowledge of telemedicine and additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, particularly in relation to the healthcare industry.
The grant – a “Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills” (RAPSD) grant – is part of a program which promotes training for workers that target in-demand areas of Ohio’s economy. With 3D printing offering innovative solutions to medical issues and becoming a growing sector of the healthcare industry, there is a burgeoning demand for qualified employees who possess specific skills in telemedicine and 3D printing.
“We are grateful to the Ohio Department of Higher Education for their determination to fill In-Demand jobs by providing grants through the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills and Ohio Means Internships & Co-ops initiatives. These grants have positively affected the lives of many of our students,” said Jackie Ruller, project manager for Kent State’s College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology.
To address the skills gap and assist with students’ training, the funds will be specifically invested in purchasing a 3D printer for the university’s College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology (CAEST).
“Adding a 3D printer will complement the existing equipment in the college and allow students to learn about additive manufacturing and the many industries it will impact in the future,” commented the dean of CAEST, Bob Sines, of the college’s latest technological addition.
Having access to such machinery will enable students to use the rapid 3D printing methods in assignments and projects, in order to build upon their specialist knowledge of a niche technology which is becoming increasingly mainstream.
Alongside using 3D printing for projects in the classroom, students are becoming involved in producing 3D printed customized healthcare products – such as toe separators and orthotics – for actual patients, due to a collaboration between Kent State’s College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology, College of Podiatric Medicine and Fashion School.
Alongside expanding the university’s technological facilities relating to 3D printing, Kent State University will also invest the grant in purchasing “two portable teaching units and 14 portable telemedicine devices, which include a combination of AMD 1830 School Based Telemedicine Carts/Kits and RP-Xpress Telemedicine units”. The new technology will be used for teaching purposes, but also for practical application in clinics at various healthcare partners across northeast Ohio.
Dr Austin Melton, a professor from the Department of Computer Science in Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, expressed his support for the university’s developments in telemedicine.
“We are excited to be taking part in this project to provide our students with new avenues to get involved in telemedicine,” he said, adding, “We are also excited to address research questions regarding the future of telemedicine and how we can play a role in shaping and directing its future.”
The whole project “aligns with Kent State’s initiatives to meet community needs and enhance the quality of life in the region and state, as well as build a culture of research and innovation”, said Kent State University, in a press release published on May 23rd.