Printing Living Tissues with Ink-Jet Printers

Posted on 26, Feb, 2008 at 21:00

Category: Science

If you are going to be upgrading to a laser printer in the future, do not get rid of your ink-jet printer just yet. Scientists are working on novel ways to build three dimensional structures using the technology found in ink-jet printers. They have used them to build small plastic and electronic parts.
http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/0960-1317/17/5/017/

There are even researchers working on building living tissues with ink-jet printers. Just imagine, in the future, if youre one of those strange folks who like small, obnoxious, pee on your leg, continuously yapping dogs with no apparent redeeming value, such a Chihuahua, you might be able to buy a Chihuahua ink cartridge, pop it in the ink-jet and - presto-chango youve got the dog you really deserve.
http://www.livescience.com/technology/050201_skin_printing.html

Researchers are also looking at using this technology to build new organs. It would be wonderful if they could take a few cells from a patient and build a new kidney for those suffering from renal failure. But, one on the biggest problems they still have to work though is building blood vessels. All tissues need nutrients to survive. Researchers have been successful in building tubular structures, but these are 30 um or less. Way too small for surgeons to be able to attach anything to them. This would be like trying to attach a piece of rigatoni to the Alaskan Pipeline.
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=8653

Although researchers are making advances toward these goals, it is safe to bet that its going to be a few years before they can actually make something on demand. So for now, if you still want a Chihuahua, you are going to have to get it the old fashion way steal it. No, Im just kidding, I mean get it from a respectable dog breeder. Of course, if he was really was a respectable dog breeder, he would try to sell you a real dog, not a Chihuahua.

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