What’s that you say? Free birth control you can download? Well, it’s not exactly free, but the cost is just one copper penny. And no, I’m not talking about one cent ABS (ouch) or PLA (uh, biodegradable) condoms. We’re talking about 3D printing an intrauterine device (IUD).
Before anyone cancels their doctor’s appointment where they were about to pay $400-850 for an official IUD, you need to know that while the IUD we’re bringing to your attention is readily downloadable and 3D printable, it’s really only a concept, one that Israeli-born, Berlin-based designer Ronen Kadushin calls a political product.
He says his Bearina IUD “demonstrates the disruptive potential of 3D printed Open Designs to give free and global access to essential products, and circumvent industries (such as the Pharma industry) that aggressively defend their intellectual property to control the price and availability of their products.” As an Open Design he’s hoping that the IUD will be improved upon and experimented with by a networked community, or in a partnership with a forward-looking medical device company, with the goal of evolving into a functional product.
The device has been designed to be visually-friendly to appeal to young women, while using dimensions, materials and shapes commonly found in IUDs. It’s a simple device: you print it, snap a copper penny into the center, attach a nylon string and insert it. The exterior of the penny is made of copper, and its dissolving ions act as a spermicidal agent,
You’ve heard the phrase, “don’t try this at home.” This really applies to this (as far as we know) untested product. Here are the designer’s exact words from his website: “ It is a conceptual product, a design fiction, and absolutely should not be used as an IUD.” Please heed his words, you don’t want to risk pregnancy or hurt yourself.
You can download the Bearina IUD open source design from Kadushin’s website, or you can order a 3D printed version via his Shapeways store for only $1.25 each.
This concept has disruption written all over it.