Well, 3D printing isn’t only to print the Eiffel Tower.
Today I’m going to show you some different uses of 3D-printing in Science
Print organs and bones
The first time that I heard about 3D-printers was in 2014, when the maker movement became mainstream in Brazil and more articles and posts about it became normal on my feed in facebook.
But back in 1999, on the movie Bicentennial Man, we saw Robin Williams become a human with the new technology of artificial organs. And printed organs are much closer to reality than you think.
A month ago the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, published some research about human tissues, where they printed an ear and implanted it into animals, and two months later they had developed blood vessels and cartilage. I made a blog post about it and you can read here.
Also the same 3D-printer has printed bones, below you can see a video of it printing a jaw.
Printing prosthesis is very popular with 3D-Printers, you can print simple prosthesis to substitute a limb, or you can print models with titanium to substitute bones on the body.
Here in Brazil is some work made by Cicero Moraes, a specialist in 3D modelling who designs prosthesis to save animals in life threatening situations like the Gigi a macaw, who arrived on Centro de Pesquisa e Triagem de Animais Selvagens(Ceptas), with a broken beak, Cicero and a team of veterinarians worked together to make a beak of titanium, you can find a full article on this link.
Some research published in the Advanced Functional Materials Journal, had developed a 3D-printer to print nerves to replace damage nerves in human body. The collaborators on the project are from the University of Minnesota, Virginia Tech, University of Maryland, Princeton University, and Johns Hopkins University.
“Nerve regeneration is a complex process. Because of this complexity, regrowth of nerves after injury or disease is very rare, according to the Mayo Clinic. Nerve damage is often permanent. Advanced 3D printing methods may now be the solution.”
If you want to know more, here is a link to the complete article on the University of Minnesota, about this research.
I hope that this research continues improving the technology, to save people’s lives: people who need a new organ or a prosthesis. Or that people with spinal cord injuries can walk again.
And you? What do you think about this uses of 3D-printing?