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3D-printed ‘bionic’ ear melds electronics and biology

May 3, 2013

Scientists used 3-D printing to merge tissue and an antenna capable of receiving radio signals. Credit: Photo by Frank Wojciechowski

Scientists at Princeton University have used a 3D printer to create a functional ear that can “hear” radio frequencies up to microwave frequencies.

The researchers’ primary purpose was to explore an efficient and versatile means to merge electronics with tissue. The scientists used 3D printing of cells and nanoparticles, followed by cell culture to combine a small coil antenna with cartilage, creating what they term… read more

3D-printed circuit boards for solder-free printable electronics

May 7, 2012


Given the schematic for a simple circuit, here’s how to make it a real circuit with the base components, some conductive thread, and a 3D printer — no solder, no etching chemicals, no sending away for anything, Instructables explains in a how-to tutorial.

“We are entering an age where physical goods increasingly have a digital representation (e.g., — and the means of production of such goods are… read more

3D-printed cyborg muscle produces artificial heartbeat

February 26, 2013

artificial heartbeat

You might expect a robot’s heartbeat to be a metallic ticking. But the pulsing in this video isn’t completely artificial: it’s powered by living material, New Scientist reports.

Created by Peter Walters from the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK, and colleagues, the pump uses the gas released by live yeast to generate pressure and distend a membrane, turning it into an… read more

3D-printed ears that look and act like the real thing

February 22, 2013


Cornell bioengineers and Weill Cornell Medical College physicians have created an artificial ear that looks and acts like a natural ear, giving new hope to thousands of children born with a congenital deformity called microtia.

They used 3-D printing and injectable gels made of living cells to fashion ears that are practically identical to a human ear.

Over a three-month period, these flexible ears… read more

3D-printed microchannels deliver oxygen, nutrients from artery to tissue implant

Solves one of the biggest challenges in regenerative medicine: keeping implant tissues alive during growth in a lab
November 6, 2015

A miniature 3D-printed network of microchannels designed to link up an artery to a tissue implant to ensure blood flow of oxygen and nutrients. Flow rate at the inlet is equal to 0.12 mL/min. (credit: Renganaden Sooppan et al./Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods)

Scientists have designed an innovative structure containing an intricate microchannel network of simulated blood vessels that solves one of the biggest challenges in regenerative medicine: How to deliver oxygen and nutrients to all cells in an artificial organ or tissue implant that takes days or weeks to grow in the lab prior to surgery.

The new study was performed by a research team led by Jordan Miller, assistant professor… read more

3D-printed microscopic cages confine bacteria in tiny zoos for the study of infections

October 10, 2013

The researchers use a novel 3-D printing technology to build homes for bacteria at a microscopic level. The resulting structures (imaged in red through confocal fluorescence) can be of almost any shape or size, and can be moved around in relationship to other structures containing bacterial microcommunities (imaged in green).<br />
Credit: Courtesy of Jason Shear

By caging bacteria in microscopic houses, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin are studying how communities of bacteria, such as those found in the human gut and lungs, interact and develop infections.

In a recent experiment, they demonstrated that a community of Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause some skin infections, became more resistant to antibiotics when it was contained within a larger community of Pseudomonasread more

3D-printed rocket parts

November 11, 2012


NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is using ”selective laser melting” (SLM) to create intricate metal parts for America’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket, saving millions in manufacturing costs.

SLM is similar to 3-D printing (additive printing) and is the future of manufacturing, says Ken Cooper, advanced manufacturing team lead at the Marshall Center.

“This machine takes metal powder and uses a high-energy laser to… read more

3D-printed sensors to lower cost, improve comfort in diabetes management

March 18, 2015

Optical microscopy images of patterned gold on polyimide film substrate (top) prepared via microcontact printing and after platinum and silver electrodes deposition (bottom) by electroplating (credit: Xiaosong Du et al./ Xiaosong Du/ ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology)

Engineers at Oregon State University have used additive manufacturing to create an improved type of glucose sensor for patients with Type 1 diabetes, part of a system that should work better, cost less, and be more comfortable for the patient.

A key advance is use of an electrohydrodynamic jet (“e-jet” printing) to make the sensor, which detects glucose concentration based on electric current… read more

3D-printed silicone guide with chemical cues helps regenerate complex nerves after injury

Research could help more than 200,000 people annually who suffer from nerve injuries or disease
September 18, 2015

3D scans of a nerve are used to create a custom regeneration guide. (credit: University of Minnesota)

A national team of researchers used a combination of 3-D imaging and 3-D printing techniques to create a custom silicone guide implanted with biochemical cues to help nerve regeneration after an injury.

Nerve regeneration is a complex process, which is why regrowth of nerves after injury or disease is very rare and often permanent, according to the Mayo Clinic.

As a test, the researchers used a 3-D scanner… read more

3D-printed swimming microrobots can sense and remove toxins

Nanoparticles enable them to be self-propelled, chemically powered, and magnetically steered; could also be used for targeted drug delivery
August 26, 2015

3D-printed microfish contain functional nanoparticles that enable them to be self-propelled, chemically powered and magnetically steered. The microfish are also capable of removing and sensing toxins. (credit: J. Warner, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering)

A new kind of fish-shaped microrobots called “microfish” can swim around efficiently in liquids, are chemically powered by hydrogen peroxide, and magnetically controlled. They will inspire a new generation of “smart” microrobots that have diverse capabilities such as detoxification, sensing, and directed drug delivery, said nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego.

To manufacture the microfish, the researchers used an innovative 3D printing technology they developed,… read more

3D-printed tumor model allows for more realistic testing of how cancer cells grow and spread

April 15, 2014

3D cellular morphology on day 8

A group of researchers in China and the U.S. has created a 3D-printed model of a cancerous tumor to help discover new anti-cancer drugs and better understand how tumors develop, grow, and spread throughout the body.

The model consists of a scaffold of fibrous proteins (gelatin, alginate, and fibrin) corresponding to the extracellular matrix (support structure) of a tumor, in the form of a grid structure 10… read more

3D-printed-anatomy developers aim to revolutionize medical education

July 22, 2014

Part of the ‘3D Printed Anatomy Series’ thought to be the first commercially available resource of its kind (credit: Monash University)

A kit of 3D-printed anatomical body parts could revolutionize medical education and training, according to its developers at Monash University.

Professor Paul McMenamin, Director of the University’s Centre for Human Anatomy Education, said the simple and cost-effective anatomical kit would dramatically improve trainee doctors’ and other health professionals’ knowledge and could even contribute to the development of new surgical treatments.

“Many medical… read more

3D-printing basic electronic components

Just hit “print” to create an electronic circuit or wireless sensor in the comfort of your own home
July 22, 2015

UC Berkeley engineers created a "smart cap" using 3-D-printed plastic with embedded electronics to wirelessly monitor the freshness of milk. (credit: Photo by Sung-Yueh Wu)

UC Berkeley engineers, in collaboration with colleagues at Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University, have developed a 3D printing process for creating basic electronic components, such as resistors, inductors, capacitors, and integrated wireless electrical sensing systems.

As a test, they printed a wireless “smart cap” for a milk carton that detected signs of spoilage using embedded sensors.

The findings were published Monday, July 20, in… read more

3D-printing food in space

June 3, 2013


NASA and a Texas company are exploring the possibility of printing food on a 3D printer on deep space missions.

NASA has awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract to Systems and Materials Research Consultancy of Austin, Texas to conduct a study for the development of a 3D printed food system for long duration space missions.

As NASA ventures farther into space, whether… read more

3D-printing human embryonic stem cells for drug testing, future replacement of human organs

New 3D printing process is first to print the more delicate (and more useful) hESCs
February 6, 2013

3D printing with embryonic stem cells (credit: )

A new 3D printing process using human stem cells could pave the way to custom replacement organs for patients, eliminating the need for organ donation and immune suppression, and solving the problem of transplant rejection.

The process, developed at Edinburgh-based Heriot-Watt University, in partnership with Roslin Cellab, could also speed up and improve the process of reliable, animal-free drug testing by growing three-dimensional human tissues and structures… read more

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