, 14 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Fantastic presentation on current and possible applications of 3D printing in healthcare by Prof Gordon Wallace from the University of Wollongong.
Some advantages of 3D printing
An amazing array of potential “inks” both synthetic and biological.
By using graphene, you can create a “sutrode”. An electrode you can tie like a suture. Useful for studying nerves and muscles.
But nature still outdoes science and engineering in so many ways. A seaweed farm in Nowra!
Here chitosan from crabs in Korea is combined with graphene to print a scaffold for fibroblasts.
And yes, you can print living cells using an inkjet printer from Officeworks! Just have to hack it so you can use your own “cartridges”!
But they needed to develop a process to do it that didn’t kill all the cells. Mechatronics developed a “coaxial extrusion printer” which was a big step forward.
This new printer was printed by a 3D printer, so it could have parts inside other parts that couldn’t be done any other way. 🤔🤯
But ask surgeons what kind of printer they want, and they just want one that you can turn on and off!#KISS
So now with a Biopen, you can print living cells directly into the deficit in the knee joint, rather than printing them onto a scaffold and implanting that.
The long term goal of a living, 3D printed ear for the treatment of microtia is still a while off. But while waiting for improvements in bioprinting, just having a good quality prosthetic ear can make a big difference.
The ear is not only a weird shape, but different parts have differing levels of elasticity and hardness etc. So they built a specific printer for producing realistic ears! It seems most problems can be solved by building a printer! #3Dalek #geddit #DrWho
Not surprisingly, the key to all this is collaboration. Across countries, and across disciplines. A lot of amazing stuff on the horizon, and just over it!
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