Would You 3D Print an Ear?

My wife and I own a 3D printer that creates little plastic 3D objects based on digital 3D computer models. It’s really cool to be able to print parts for a craft project you might be working on, or to print plastic models and toys. Consumer grade 3D printing is just the tip of the iceberg, however. Science has created new and more useful types of 3D printing over the years, from concrete construction printers, to metal working printers, to food printers, to medical use printers. Today, I read a super cool article about how a Queens based biotech company, called 3DBio Therapeutics, was able to 3D print a human ear made of living tissue harvested from the patient. The ear was surgically grafted onto the young woman that had a misshapen ear from birth. Check the before and after images below and you will be amazed. Given more time, the doctors say the ear will regenerate more cartilage tissue and continue to improve its appearance and feel even more. The creators of this tissue printing technique are hopeful it can be used to print other types of body parts as well, including complex internal organs, but there’s still tons of work left to do to get there.

Alexa, the patient, before the surgery, left, and 30 days after the surgery. Credit…Dr. Arturo Bonilla, Microtia-Congenital Ear Institute. Image courtesy of New York Times.

Taylor Design Blog

By Chris

Senior Front-end Developer