As epoch-making as Gutenberg’s printing press, 3D printing is changing the shape of the future. Photograph by Robert Clark/National Geographic, Source: Lewis Group, Harvard University
Above: Glowing in black light, this “scaffold” was made by a Harvard University lab that used a similar method to 3-D print living tissue with blood vessels using biological inks. The researchers hope this will lead to printable tissues for drug screening, regeneration, and ultimately, organ transplant.
Rocket engine parts, chocolate figurines, functional replica pistols, a Dutch canal house, designer sunglasses, a zippy two-seater car, a rowboat, a prototype bionic ear, pizzas—hardly a week goes by without a startling tour de force in the rapidly evolving technology of three-dimensional printing.
A bionic ear printed by researchers at Princeton University uses “inks” made of silicone and chondrocytes, cells that produce cartilage. The metal coil receives and transmits electrical impulses, which could stimulate the auditory nerve, as a cochlear implant does.
This space suit simulator was made out of clear urethane cast in 3-D printed molds. The prototype was designed to allow astronauts greater mobility when exploring planetary surfaces. NASA is using the simulator to test portable life support system technologies in the laboratory.
The images are from the December issue of National Geographic magazine.
source National Geographic
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