…Benjamin S. Harrison, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, says “The impossible can be possible”. As a respected authority in the field, he strongly suggests that there are limitless possibilities for 3D printing and the duplication of human tissues that can counter the degenerative effects of aging and disease on the human body.
The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine spent the last decade building a 3D printer that can print both an artificial scaffold and living cells at the same time. They’re now using it to produce intricate ears, noses, and bones.
Institute scientists there have also designed a bioprinter to print skin cells onto burn wounds. The ability to print cells in three dimensions opened up new applications. By mapping the area, scientists can determine how many cell layers are needed for the subdermal tissue, and the printer can deliver cells more accurately and precisely than other devices.
In addition their 3D printers will also be used to print the tiny organ-like structures that mimic the function of the heart, liver, lung and blood vessels. Placed on a 2-inch (5cm) chip, these structures will be connected to a system of fluid channels and sensors to provide on-line monitoring of individual organs and the overall organ system.
But building solid organs like the heart and the liver is the hardest challenge yet. “We are working on creating solid organ implants”, said the insitute scientists. They believe the bioprinting of full size solid organs might not be far away….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!