It's amazing how many people are now getting knee and hip replacements, Liz. And it's great that such technologies are available. A couple of generations ago, those injuries got worse and people were crippled by them. Thanks to some serious engineering innovation in the past 30 years, people can now live pretty normal lives with replacement joints.
Good point, Jenn. I think it will be a long time before we see anything like this used in human surgery. Cadaver cartilage for knees is still a new field, with just a handful of doctors doing those operations. Given that, I would think that 3D-printed cartilage might be a long way off.
In this case, they printed the framework and grew the rest of it. But, making the support structure is vital, only 3D printing make for an easy build of complicated forms. A few years ago, someone received a manufactured throat based on similar tech. I am sure that person is very happy now. This type of tech should be explored further and improved, without a doubt.
Anything to better our lives. Imagine, pulverized a fiber, print a new one. It will happen.
Ah, I know the feeling! Due to my sporting ways over the years, I fear some kind of cartilage replacement is in my future...the joints are starting to go tweaky on me...and my father had two knees and a shoulder replaced. Good to see some of these advancements...maybe they will be ready by the time we need them!
Hi Elizabeth M, I didn't have any cartilage replaced, just trimmed to lessen the chance of a future tear. Don't know if any form of artificial material was even available back then. Oh, to be 23 years old again!
Hi Cabe--thanks for highlighting these developments. I read your article, then some earlier reports on the Wake Forest work and others, and I'm still unclear. It seems that at least some (many?) of the promising approaches for organs involve printing a frame or scaffold roughly the size/shape of what you want, then somehow applying a tissue mixture and getting it to grow. If all goes well, you end up with the tissue you want in the geometry your want.
Where I get confused is while 3D printing the scaffold makes sense and I can see that 3D printing is enabling amazing advances, in the 2nd step it doesn't really look like printing. It is more like "applying". Although they talk about an ink-jet printer it is unclear that the 2nd step is really very selective or 3D. The photos unfortunately don't change that conclusion--they appear to be dispensing not printing.
Can you shed any more light on the process details and exactly where 3D printing is helping/enabling?
Every time I read a story about something that has been 3D printed - from a person's jaw to an outfit debuting at fashion week - I am more and more amazed. My fear, however, is that these 3D-printed body parts are going to backfire. How safe are they really? And how are we to know for sure?
I agree, Dave. I, too, never took a biology class in college while studying engineering. Bioengineering used to be an engineer's route to medical school. Now it should be much more than that -- an important discipline unto itself.
This is very impressive, and a good example of why engineers should study biology. The last time I took a biology class was in 9th grade -- I managed to make it all the way through college and graduate school in engineering without learning much of anything about living things. This is a real problem, since so many of today's engineering innovations are either biomedical in nature or biologically-inspired.
I think the "gross" factor comes with the territory, to a certain extent; it's something that medical students have to learn to get over. Intellectually, I don't think there is anything "gruesome" about body parts being made on an assembly line, especially if they will help people to have a better life. But on an emotional/gut level, it does seem kind of creepy.
Earlier this year paralyzed IndyCar drive Sam Schmidt did the seemingly impossible -- opening the qualifying rounds at Indy by driving a modified Corvette C7 Stingray around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Wearables are changing the way we see ourselves. With onboard sensors that have access to our bodies, we are starting to know our physical selves like never before, quantifying our activity, our heart rate, breathing, and even our muscle effort.
Last week, the bill for reforming chemical regulation, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, passed the House. If it or a similar bill becomes law, the effects on cost and availability of adhesives and plastics incorporating these substances are not yet clear.
This year, Design News is getting a head start on the Fourth of July celebration. In honor of our country and its legacy of engineering innovation -- in all of its forms -- we are taking you on an alphabetical tour through all 50 states to showcase interesting engineering breakthroughs and historically significant events.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.