One of PopSci’s favorite regenerative medicine specialists, Anthony Atala, printed a real kidney on stage at the 2011 TED conference Thursday, in a technique that could be used to create new organs from a patient’s own tissue rather than relying on donated organs.
“It’s like baking a cake,” Atala said.
A few years ago, Atala figured out how to produce human tissue with a desktop inkjet printer, using cells as the printer ink. In a TED talk last year, he described printing heart valves and other tissues. This week at TED, he brought one of his patients on stage. When he was 10, Luke Massella was among the first people to receive a printed kidney — now he’s a healthy college student.
The process employs scanners that collect a 3-D image of the organ that needs to be replaced. A small tissue sample, which AFP describes as the size of a postage stamp, seeds the printer, which replicates the tissue layer by layer to build a new organ, all in about six hours. It uses the patient’s own tissue, so it avoids any organ rejection issues.
When people ask us “what the future of open source hardware” – we think this is a neat preview, it’s a bit of OSHW 3D printers, thingiverse for people, genes and organs with a dash of Instructables. And depending on how health care goes, KickStarter.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.