3D Printing’s Accessibility Drives Innovation

Posted Date 07/06/17

 3D printing has become much more accessible to different groups of people, from students to big-lab researchers, and the barrier for innovation is increasingly getting lower, says material scientist and engineer Karen Dubbin, science director of 3D bioprinting company Aether in an article for 3D Printing Industry.

This lower barrier will lead to a spur of innovative discoveries and advancements in the coming years in a lot of industries and notably in medicine. Currently, Dubbin notes, doctors have to rely on autografts and transplants to treat their patients but 3D printing can potentially mimic biological structures found in human tissues, which can revolutionize tissue engineering.

Already, 3D printers can make very complex structures from metals, polymers, and ceramics. The challenge would be to replicate this complex-structure capability with biomaterials. This means making sure that cells stay alive for long enough to be bioprinted into new structures.

Bioinks are a significant area of development, naturally, and the next few years are likely to see some major achievements there, including in enhancing and extending the viability of the cells they contain.

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