Tech of the Week: The Future of 3D “Bioficial” Hearts
Much like augmented reality technology is advancing across industries like construction and education, the healthcare industry is learning to harness 3D technology. Scientists are hoping to create organs using this technology for patients who would otherwise become terminal. Recently, there have been successful cases of implanting artificially printed windpipes and other small body parts into humans. Within the next ten years the goal is to start testing human hearts that have been three dimensionally printed using the patient’s very own cells to avoid rejection.
“The cells would be purified in a machine, and then printing would begin in sections, using a computer model to build the heart layer by layer. Williams’ printer uses a mixture of a gel and living cells to gradually build the shape. Eventually, the cells would grow together to form the tissue…”
“Williams believes they can print parts and assemble an entire heart in three to five years.”
Although it may be awhile before 3D bioficial hearts become readily available, the printing technology continues to make rapid progress towards saving lives. 3D produced medical prosthetics, splints, and even human ears are all examples of what has already been accomplished. Other examples of innovative technology being used for medical treatments include augmented reality devices in the operating room.
How else do you see medical 3D printers being applied in healthcare? How could this technology benefit other industries as well?