We have seen blood vessels built from an inkjet printer and bones from a 3D printer. A combination of inkjet printing technology along with 3D technology might help researchers build human organs, wonders Paul Calvert, a materials scientist at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
“It’s a milestone that we can print all types of cells onto a surface with an ink-jet printer without them dying, even stem cells… Doing this successfully in three dimensions, however, is like going from a black-and-white to a full-color.”
Paul picked up a normal inkjet printer from a store and fitted it inside a robot operated by a piece of software. He plans on replacing inks with different cultures of cells (machine controlled) that is fed into the cartridge nozzle. The heat produced during printing wouldn’t harm the cells as they are about three-quarters smaller than the opening.
Calvert’s team and others are building on the success by depositing cells in a thin layer, covering it with a thin membrane and then printing more cells on top. The membrane, he explained, acts like porous scaffolding on which cell layers are separated, but can still communicate.
I am no expert in the medical field but the organ manufacturing unit sounds interesting and useful for humanity. Printers, both 3D and inkjet have contributed actively in the medical field along with nano technology serving as a foundation for great innovations to come. I am in awe of the person/team that invented inkjet and 3D printers.