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3D-printed capsule opens the the door to designer supplements

crispr pill antibiotics 7843896  pills of many shapes and colors grouped together
Vladimir Nenov/123RF
The reach of 3D printing seemingly has no end. We have 3D-printed guns, a 3D printer in space, and now we have 3D-printed nutritional supplements. The company behind this brilliant health-focused technology is Multiply Labs, which is developing a personalized vitamin supplement that you can customize to your particular dietary needs. Not only can you choose which supplements you want to include in each dosage, but you also can control when each component is released. Individuals who skip breakfast and need an afternoon nap, for example, can design a capsule that delivers a burst of nutrients in the morning and then some caffeine in the afternoon.

The key to the technology is 3D printing, which allows the firm to print personalized capsules on demand. Each capsule is 3D printed according to the customer’s specifications and then filled with the customized ingredients using robots. Each client can choose which individual supplements they want, or they can let the system design a pill based on the health metrics they provide. Available capsule ingredients include caffeine, Omega-3, amino acids, minerals and vitamins including B6, B12, D3, and more. All ingredients are placed inside 1/2-inch capsule that is easy to swallow.

Another novel feature of Multiply Lab’s product is the timed release of the ingredients, which is achieved using a medical-grade 3D printer and compartmentalized pills. The printer uses pharmaceutical polymers and can control both the material being used and the thickness of the capsule walls. By varying the material and the wall thickness of each compartment, the company can control the release of each supplement, allowing users to get a boost of nutrients when needed.

Multiply Lab expects to begin shipping its personalized capsules in spring 2017 and is accepting pre-orders now. Customers who pre-order a two-week supply of supplements will receive a 25-percent discount, with 15 pills costing $19 instead of the full retail price of $25. Early supporters also have the option of participating in product beta testing and contributing to the development of the product.

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