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Monday, 30 November 2015

Scientists use 3D printer to create body parts

Professor Gordon Wallace from the University of Wollongong says "unimaginable developments" are on the way in human prosthetics.
Professor Gordon Wallace from the University of Wollongong says "unimaginable developments" are on the way in human prosthetics. Andy Zakeli
by Tim Dodd
The University of Wollongong has launched a massive open online course (MOOC), which explains how body parts can be manufactured on 3D printers. The four-week course explains the work of the university's Australian Institute for Innovative Materials, which took off-the-shelf 3D printers and re-engineered them to print with bio-ink, embedded with human cells, which the institute had just developed.
Case studies covered in the course include 3D printing of titanium hip implants and made-to-fit masks for facial transplant recipients. It also examines the potential for producing lab-grown human organs through 3D printing of living cells.
The course is suitable for anyone, but the university particularly aims it at senior high school students looking for a taste of university study. It foreshadows what undergraduates will study in science, mechatronics and engineering courses and in the university's master of biofabrication degree.
The main course presenter, Gordon Wallace, said: "we may be only a few years away from a time when every major hospital will contain 3D printing capabilities."
The emerging field of biofabrication is bringing "previously unimaginable developments, such as prosthetic limbs controlled by thought alone, bionic implants to restore lost senses and, of course, 3D printing of human organs," Professor Wallace said.
The free four-week course, titled Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts started on November 23 but it's not too late to join.
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