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High-Speed 3D Printing Method Could Produce Human Organs In Under an Hour

A 3D printed hand rises from a hydrogel solution.
University of Buffalo

Researchers at the University of Buffalo are bringing a science fiction trope to life with their new 3D printing method, which can produce a synthetic hand in under 20 minutes. The rapid printing technology minimizes cellular damage and deformation, making it one of the most viable options for 3D printing human organs.

A surreal YouTube video shows the 3D printing method in action, and it looks like something out of a movie—it’s just so quick and simple. A machine dips into a shallow solution of yellow goo and pulls out a fully-formed synthetic hand in just under 20 minutes. Researchers at the University of Buffalo say that conventional printing methods would take 6 hours to produce the same hand.

The new printing method relies on stereolithography or photo-solidification, the same process used in resin printing. Basically, scientists use light to selectively cure a hydrogel solution into a desired shape. Stereolithography works 10 to 15 times faster than regular bioprinting methods, so scientists can provide a continuous supply of biogel to their model, limiting environmental exposure and mistakes.

Biogel stereolitography is already suited to print cellular models with blood-vessel networks, although the technology is currently limited to centimeter-sized models. Scientists should be able to scale up the method, though, which will be essential for printing human-sized organs. Who knows, in the future, every hospital could be equipped with a biogel stereolithography printer to manufacture replacement organs on the fly, eliminating the need for human-to-human organ transplants.

Source: University of Buffalo via Engadget

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »