Organovo is a startup based in San Diego, which is working with the 3D printing to create human skeletal muscle. The 3D printer has a cartridge with muscle cells which were prepared specially for this purpose. The printer will deposit these cells in the petri dish, in lines that are closely spaced together. Thanks to the closeness between the cells, they will interact and will grow, forming muscle tissue in time, which can’t be distinguished from the tissue which can be taken from a human.
This 3D printed muscle tissue could help new drug development, making it faster. A lot of drugs which do well when they’re tested on animals or cell cultures don’t do as well during clinical trials, thanks to the fact that human tissue is different from that of an animal. The 3D printed muscle is a superior choice for such trials, so drug companies will not spend millions of dollars on clinical trials. They will know beforehand if the drug is effective on humans, so a lot of time and money are saved.
Organovo has so far 3D printed different kinds of tissue, including blood vessels, lung and cardiac muscle.The 3D printing technology used by Organovo makes cell interact just like they do when they’re inside a body. The cells are packed tightly and they are incubated, so they will start to adhere to each other, trading chemical signals in the process. The cells will be kept in a paste, where they will align properly, migrating and growing as necessary.
Another possible use for this technology is the 3D printing of organs which could be transplanted. It’s not the case now, since the start-up has only printed small tissue samples, but it might be in the future. This kind of 3D printed organ would be superior to other choices because the cells of the patient would be used, minimizing the chance of rejection.
Drexel University researchers are currently working on the se of 3D printers for the creation of robotic scale models of dinosaurs, by creating copies of dinosaur bones. The researchers want to create robotic models of the dinosaurs, in a smaller size.
The first step is the 3D scanning of the bones and getting that information on the computer. Next, a 3D printer is used together with the scan results, to create 3D objects. The method used can be extrusion, but it can also be the forcing of a material which resembles resin, in ultra thin form, through the manufacturing die.
With the help of this technology, it is hoped that scale models of dinosaurs could be created for museums and for research purposes. The researchers that are working on this right now are looking to study the reproduction habits and the movement of dinosaurs, by looking at the robotic scale models and the way they move.[Source]
Curious what is 3D printing? It’s a process which allows three dimensional objects to be created, by using a digital file and a materials printer. It works similarly to regular paper printing of images. The technology uses additive manufacturing to add layer after layer of material, creating the object from the grounds up.
The technology has evolved quickly since 2003 and there are a number of 3D printers available for sale these days. The price of these 3D printers keeps going down and a few companies are trying to create a model that is cheap enough and small enough to be used by regular consumers. 3D printing technology can prove useful in all kinds of fields, including industrial design, jewelry, engineering, footwear, dental industries, education and so on. The list of fields which could be influenced by 3D printing is huge.
In the photo above you can see the original item which was scanned with a 3D scanner. A 3D printer was then used to create the figurine on the right, the material used being a resin.