After creating plastic knick knacks, phone cases and many other things, 3D Printing technology can also help you build new ear in case you have lost one. Scientists, at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, have published a study which has outlined a method to build a biocompatible tissue to build muscle, cartilage, bone and an entire human ear.
The 3D printer has eliminated some hurdle in creating cell-laden hydrogels which acts as a bio-ink. But it is the first step in making a lasting tissue.
“One of the major limitations of nature is that tissues or cells will not survive in volumes larger than 100-200 µm, which is about .1-.2 mm,” Researcher Anthony Atala told Mashable. Cells need to be close enough to blood-carrying capillaries to get the nutrition necessary to survive through diffusion.
“What we did with the printing technology is we created microchannels in the structure that allowed the nutrition to go through and allow us to basically overcome nature’s limit we created microchannels in the structure that allowed the nutrition to go through and allow us to basically overcome nature’s limit,” Atala said.
One of the major successes of Atala’s team is that they have worked at extremely small scale to mimic the capillaries effectively. The results have been tasted on lab rats. The bioprinted bone tissues have been implanted on rat ears and analyzed after five months. They were surprised to find the presence of vascularized tissues in implants.
The tissues are shaped after taking the digital model of the body parts or portion of the tissue and translating it into a software program. The printer is capable of building size and shape of ear you wish.