Questionable Ethics On 3D Scanning Services for Bone Printing
3D scanning services help in a difficult situation
We are all in love with new technology; we go for the latest iPhone, AirPods, and gadgets to make life easier. Technology has advanced so far beyond our reach and out of our control that there are now controversial ethical issues involved when using the latest technology.
How does someone maintain a sense of privacy in a technological world that sees absolutely everything? How does it feel when your skeletal structure, your very being, is downloaded and saved in the cloud? These are all ethical questions that are now surfacing due to the rise in creating bone replicas through 3D scanning Services.
3D scanning Services is the process of moving real-world objects into cyberspace, it can collect all sorts of data. This includes appearance, dimensions, and shape. 3D scanning services started in the 1960s and, since then, has come a long way, storing all of the data in the cloud.
Researchers for museums and anthropologists have found that they can create actual bone replicas using 3D scanners, which is also a very cheap process considering all of the work it takes. Each scan can give exact breaks, cuts, dimensions, the accuracy of using a 3D scanner is unbeatable. Making bone replicas by hand is tedious work, and not always accurate.
The laws on replicating bones can be tricky, especially when we are talking about human remains. Each country has its own set of laws on how human remains can be used by law for research. It’s a tricky area and is currently mostly limited to museum collections containing human remains.
Ericka L’Abbé, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, states, “When someone downloads these skulls and reconstructs them, it becomes their data, their property.”
This becomes a major ethical problem when concerning human remains. Owning data is not against the law, but owning the right to a person’s skeletal structure, and a replica of someone’s body can raise some concerning issues if the research team isn’t honest. Anyone can take these replicas and use it for private use, and this could cause some serious violations.
Ericka L’Abbé is currently working in Gauteng Provence in South Africa with the local police to identify bodies that are discovered throughout the region. More than 20,000 unidentified bodies are found from murder in this region. Creating replicas to study these bodies can help identify the human remains giving them back to their family without destroying the original bone structure; this can be incredibly important to some families. But what do you do with the data once the original is sent back home? How do you keep this data ethically?
In some developing countries, medical students and researchers don’t have the option to study skeletal structure any other way except for through CAD (computer-aided design) programs. 3D scanning services give these students and researchers opportunities they would not have otherwise.
3D scanning services have made research more accessible, but ethical dilemmas must be solved to take the research further and help countries to the fullest extent with the best outcome.