Or, as they call it, a "3D bio-printer." Essentially, it allows scientists to build tissue cell by cell. It's that cool sci-fi medical stuff we all dream about.
"Scientists and engineers can use the 3D bio printers to enable placing cells of almost any type into a desired pattern in 3D," Murphy said. "Researchers can place liver cells on a preformed scaffold, support kidney cells with a co-printed scaffold, or form adjacent layers of epithelial and stromal soft tissue that grow into a mature tooth. Ultimately the idea would be for surgeons to have tissue on demand for various uses, and the best way to do that is get a number of bio-printers into the hands of researchers and give them the ability to make three dimensional tissues on demand."
The system includes software that enables engineers to build a model of the tissue before layering cells with laser-calibrated print heads. So, it seems pretty similar to a standard 3D model printer. Hopefully, most of us will live to see the day when we can have new hearts and livers printed on demand. That would be handy. Teeth would be great in the short term too. That whole Polygrip lifestyle where corn cobs and apples could lead to disaster does not seem appealing. [Livescience]