A report today in CNN describes the incredible work being done to assist injured soldiers. While many types of injuries occur overseas, one of the most common is burned skin - evidently 5-20% of all combat injuries. A new initiative attempts to rebuild skin damaged in this way using 3D print technology.
The approach is to use a bioprinter adapted from common everyday inkjet technology to deposit various types of living cells in an appropriately shaped 3D array. Where does the feedstock come from? From the patient, of course. A sample is taken ahead of time, then separately cultured into a large quantity. This material then becomes the printable media for the process. The "skin" is printed directly onto the patient, and the cells naturally take hold and fuse together.
Skin is just the start; the researchers believe they can adapt the technique to other types of living tissue, including human organs. We have no doubt of this, as 3D printing technology is incredibly versatile. We wonder whether anyone has considered the possibility of including non-organic material in such prints to provide enhancement beyond normal human abilities?
Via CNN (Hat tip to Linda)