World’s Strangest

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A Printer That Prints Skin

It feels more and more as time goes on that we are living in a science-fiction film. Sure, it doesn’t take much to dazzle me. After all, I’m still amazed by Dippin’ Dots and robot vacuum cleaners. But there are even more amazing things going on these days – some of which even help people.

Try this idea on for size: a printer that produces human skin (not pictured.)

Sound crazy? Yes, it does. But, according to Discovery News, this futuristic idea is in the process of becoming a very real device. The article explains:

One technique involves a portable bioprinter that could be carried to wounded soldiers on the battlefield where it would scan the injury, take cells from the patient and print a section of compatible skin.

Another uses a three-dimensional printer combining donor cells, biofriendly gel and other materials to build cartilage.

The 3-D printer was shown at work, building a prototype of an ear during a half-hour demonstration at a Washington science conference.

Hod Lipson of Cornell University in New York said it worked much like an ink-jet printer.

As is the case with new scientific technologies, this will probably be developed and blow everyone’s mind. And then, over time, it will become such a common everyday device that nobody is impressed anymore. A little kid will fall down off his hoverbike and scrape his knee, and his mom will come outside with her pocket-sized skin printer, print him off a piece and slap it on – and nobody will bat an eye.

But, for now, I’m amazed.

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February 24th, 2011

Stranger to the World


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