How bones can be tailor-made

By | June 14, 2008

The idea of having an irreparably damaged bone scanned, a titanium copy created in a replicator and then surgically inserted into our bodies seems more Star Trek science fiction than modern-day medicine. But advances in three-dimensional printing and a key piece of breakthrough software mean that, within a year, this will be a reality.

Other three dimensional printers are already available and in use for rapid prototyping. A goal for some engineers is to create 3D printers which can copy themselves, in other words, reproduce!

…”Firstly, they are much lighter as, like human bone, they are porous rather than solid. And having an internal mesh means you can fuse the implant to the bone, so the natural bone will grow into the holes and lock itself in. Because it’s a porous structure, you can x-ray the – implant and see how the natural bone is melding with the implant. And, though these e-manufactured implants are only a quarter of the weight of solid ones, the laser makes a finer material than cast metal – so is it is actually stronger than the current technology.”

E-manufacturing implants could have a surprising number of benefits for the health service. …- guardianUK

Perhaps future generations of these artificial bones will be able to “print” their own repairs in a way that even if 10% of the original still existed, it would heal.

7 thoughts on “How bones can be tailor-made

  1. Charles

    Hi – sorry, but this is an unreasonable copying of our content.
    1) you are definitely allowed to copy short extracts from a story and comment on them – this is called “fair use”. But to copy the whole thing? That’s theft.
    2) if you’re sourcing the picture from the Guardian (ie using our bandwidth) that’s OK. Less good to have copied it onto your site.

    The reason why we don’t like wholesale copying though is that if you do this, why should people come to our site? They’ve seen the picture and the text. Why should they come to us? Then we have fewer readers, and so fewer advertisers, and so we can’t pay as much for stories, so we do less original work, until the site closes and you have nothing to copy – but the reason you came to us in the first place was because we had something nobody else did. So you’re destroying what you like by this.

    I’d appreciate it if you’d fix this. Comment on the story, please. But don’t just steal it.
    (And to say “but I gave you a link, it’s Googlejuice” doesn’t wash – sorry, but Google knows us well enough already.)

  2. Xeno Post author

    Unfortunately, I have no way of verifying that you work for the Guardian in a capacity which gives you the authority to make the claims you are making. According the definitions as I understand them, and given the educational nature of this personal blog, the use of the content above does fall under the Fair Use provision.

    If your organization still believes there is a violation, please send your request for removal on company letterhead along with the blog entry in question referenced by URL, the date it was viewed, and the legal basis for your claim to: Xenophilia, P.O.Box 72211, Davis, CA 95617.

    On a personal note, Charles, you need to relax. And don’t call me a thief. I have not removed content from the Guardian UK web site. It is still there. I am not stopping anyone from visiting it. If your advertisements are annoying people so much that they are not visiting, then perhaps you should stop annoying your customers, eh? There is an excerpt here on this non commercial personal blog with a link back to the original article and the photo is housed on your own web site.

  3. Charles

    @Xeno – try dropping an email to the email I gave, or to

    You cannot claim that a personal blog has an educational use because it is visible on the public internet – therefore it could be argued that there is no exclusivity about it.

    It clearly breaches the provision where you deny the copyright holder gain. The page you link to also shows that “educational use” has been deemphasized in recent cases, and that “not every educational use is fair”.

    It wouldn’t matter whether I worked for the Guardian: any passing commenter should be able to point out that you’re infringing copyright, and you should consider yourself put on notice – and at least consider the claim on its merits. (Which you have. Wrongly, I think.)

    We encourage comment and true fair use of our content: a short extract, commentary, links – those are good things which add to the sum of human knowledge. Copy/pasting entire stories: this is laziness, and to dress it up as “education” is sloppy thinking which no self-respecting scientist should do. As to whether people want to come to our site to see adverts – I think that’s for readers to decide. Pretending that you’re rendering a public service by giving away an advert-free version is solipsistic.

    I’ve emailed you. If you want to give us a fax number, I’ll fax you too. I regret that I don’t think a letter will have the desired effect in time.

    Please don’t prolong this process unnecessarily. It’s a simple request.

  4. Anne

    “I have not removed content from the Guardian UK web site. It is still there.”

    You’re not being accused of removing it. You’re being accused of copying it, which is illegal, whether you like it or not…

  5. Erik


    Call it what you want. This is very clearly just cut and paste. At least have the dignity to create the content if you’r going to post it.

  6. Xeno Post author

    Ann: I was being facetious. No, copying content is not illegal. It depends on the circumstances (see below).

    Erik the Dignitary: Quotes on this blog, as opposed to my own words, are clearly indicated and referenced. Of course quotes are pasted.

    Charles: Thanks for the email address, I’ll get back to you on that channel as well.

    This blog is educational, public and non exclusive in the sense that I am not charging others to view the content. If I’m missing the legal meaning of exclusivity here, please let me know.

    This post which links back to the original article does not deny the copyright holder gain. In fact, it is most likely that my post here with the link increases the copyright holder’s gain by increasing your web traffic. Have your webmaster check your logs for this site as the referrer and you’ll see that I’m right.

    I do agree that the entire article should not be copied and I appreciate the reminder. It never was, by the way, and I’ve trimmed it down even more. If you still insist that I am “stealing” your content at this point, I disagree based on my understanding of the law. Courts consider four factors in “fair use” cases.

    1) Purpose: The purpose of this blog is to help average people get excited about science. The content in question is excerpted on a non-commercial, educational, personal blog. The amount of the content used is limited. My own added comments make the use transformative.

    2) Nature: The item experpted is a web-based non-fiction article of general scientific interest. It is not out of print, nor is a fee charged to view it.

    3) Amount: I am using 169 words from the original 740 word article. 22.8% This is less than 1/4. You stated in your email that one-third suffices to constitute “fair use”, so I’m not sure what your beef is at this point. As to the amount determining fair use, it may or may not. It depends on all four factors.

    4) Effect: The purpose of this use is non commercial. I’m at a loss as to how you intend to show that my blog is impacting the advertising revenue of a massively popular web site in the UK. If anything, the link here back to the original article will serve to increase your readership. At the time I am writing this, the link to your article is the 4th most popular link on my entire blog!

  7. Ann

    Looks like there’s more than one “Anne” or “Ann” that visits your site, Xeno.

    Is Charles the “web police” for the Guardian?

    Sad, I had thought the Guardian was a little more left, more people-oriented, than to complain about the copying and pasting of one article!

    Doesn’t Mr. Charles know that by the mere fact that Xeno is using the article from the Guardian, he is advertising for the Guardian?

    It’s like, you know, guerrilla advertising via the internet.

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