But she also thinks that “cosmeceutical” companies, plastic surgeons, and entrepreneurs could potentially create new designs to augment the human body.
The Regenerative Reliquary project aims to find new ways to grow missing bones—or let people reshape their own.
For Regenerative Reliquary, she is hacking bone cells to 3D-print intricately designed hand-bone replacements. Karle calls her project a fusion of generative art and regenerative medicine, the idea being that the two disciplines don’t have to be so philosophically and practically distinct.
The process involves training stem cells to become bone. “Essentially, this means that if it were to be applied medically, a patient’s own stem cells could be used, and—if all works well—turn to bone,” says Karle, “which could be implanted into the body without rejection, since it would be of their own genetic material.”
With the help of Autodesk Bio/Nano’s Chris Venter and Ember’s John Vericella and Brian Adzima, Karle 3D-printed the design on the microscopic level using a Ember 3D printer extruding PEGDA hydrogel, a “biofriendly blank slate” ideal for cell growth that disintegrates over time.
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