Mimaki 3D Printing Brings Color to the “Beauty” Of Anatomy
16 June 2021: A revolutionary project sees a team of doctors and researchers from the University of Florence use Mimaki’s 3DUJ-553 printer to create three-dimensional anatomical models with an extremely high and previously unattainable degree of colour fidelity
The focus of this discipline is to investigate and consequently produce figurative representations of the morphology of the human body, with a degree of realism and accuracy that has played – and continues to play – a crucial role in ensuring effective teaching and the dissemination of anatomical knowledge. And this is precisely where 3D printing comes in as a state-of-the-art technology that could mark a turning point in the anatomical representation of the human body.
A major step forward in this direction was made in a recent Italian project involving the University of Florence and Bompan, Mimaki’s exclusive Italian importer, which leverages the passion, skills and determination of a team of visionary doctors and researchers, and the full colour and photorealistic capability of Mimaki’s 3D printing technology.
A shared passion for anatomy led Ferdinando Paternostro, physician and associate professor in the Anatomy Section of the Department of Experimental Medicine at the University of Florence and Giacomo Gelati, doctor and resident, to explore new ways to fill the existing gap and make the definitive qualitative leap forward in anatomical representation. Due to a number of critical issues, such as the perishable nature of corpses and legal complications, the practice of dissection – the main method of anatomical investigation that has allowed us to gain knowledge and produce an iconographic representation of the structures of the human body – has become increasingly less practical. “During my medical studies, thanks to Ferdinando, who was my professor, I became passionate about anatomy. However, I soon became aware of a series of difficulties. Not only was it impossible to take part in anatomical dissection practice sessions (still the best tool available to learn about the morphology of the human body) but the iconography used (albeit based on photographs that showed realistic anatomical details and watercolours of great artistic value, despite relying on a schematic representation of anatomical structures), remained flat and static, and therefore not very usable”, says Giacomo Gelati.
Once the first goal had been achieved, the next step was almost inescapable, but the result was certainly not taken for granted. “We had beautiful and effective graphic images available, so we began to consider the opportunity to transform them into three-dimensional, manageable and imperishable objects. We immediately thought about 3D printing, focusing on colour fidelity, which is a crucial element for us”, says Gelati. This last aspect prompted the two doctors and researchers to turn towards Bompan and Mimaki’s additive printing technology with realistic colours. “It was a challenge within a challenge. Graphic quality and print quality go hand-in-hand: without a good source file there will never be a good 3D printed object and, conversely, without a good 3D printer, a source file will lose its quality in the printing process. This is why we decided to team up with an excellent 3D colour printing company”.