San Diego startup Organovo has developed a bioprinting technique which allows it to create human tissue starting with any cell source. The printer deposits lines of cells closely together, where they are allowed to grow and interconnect until they form working muscle tissue.
Unlike other experimental approaches that utilize ink-jet printers to deposit cells, Organovo’s technology enables cells to interact with each other the way they do in the body. How? They are packed tightly together, sandwiched, if you will, and incubated. This prompts them to cleave to each other and interchange chemical signals. When printed, the cells are grouped together in a paste that helps them grow, migrate, and align themselves properly. In the case of muscle cells, the way they orient themselves in the same direction allow for contractions of the tissue.
The company hopes to one day build entire organs for transplants. Because tissue is able to be built from a patient’s own cells, the risk of rejection would be very low.
Newly developed at the Vienna University of Technology, and supremely awesome: Highly tuned mirrors increase the speed and accuracy of 3D printing in nano scale, accomplished through two-photon lithography. But how? Precision lasers are guided through a specialty liquid resin to form the lines and layers that comprise the final object. When the resin simultaneously absorbs two photons, which occurs only at the high intensity center of the laser, the monomers of the resin polymerize and solidify.
Someone get me a walkman and some language learning tapes, I’m going to Vienna!
As promised here is the rapid prototyped vase / pencil holder! (the video becomes un-stretched once you hit play)
The Maker Bot is a consumer level 3D printer produced by Maker Bot Industries in Brooklyn. A direct filament extrusion process, look for the spool of ABS polymer in the upper left corner. The heated platform controls the X and Y axis, while the extrusion head moves in the Z direction as the layers build vertically. It can use practically ANY 3D model file, even Google Sketch Up! Also, there is the fabulous Thingiverse, a website from which you can download and print items modeled by other designers/machine owners. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.