3D Printing

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Bio-printing is a variant of 3D printing and can be defined as computer-aided, automatic, layer-by-layer deposition, transfer, and patterning of biologically relevant materials. It is also known by other names such as “computer aided tissue engineering” and “bio fabrication”. In simpler words, bioprinting involves printing devices that deposit biological material.

Organ printing is a variant of bio-printing aiming at producing 3D organs. This is among the most promising advances of regenerative medicine. The 3D- Bioprinter was listed among the TIME magazine’s 50 best inventions of 2010. Most of the 3D printers use a modified version of inkjet printers to deposit dots of “bio ink” (cell suspension with 10 to 30 thousand cells per drop) that coalesce to form layers of organ interrupted by layers of biopaper (hydrogel mimicking the microenvironment of tissue) which is water-soluble.

Nothing communicates ideas faster than a three-dimensional part or model. With a 3D printer we can bring CAD files and design ideas to life – right from the desktop. Test form, fit and function – and as many design variations as there can be – with functional parts.

In an age in which the news, books, music, video and even our communities are all the subjects of digital dematerialization, the development and application of 3D printing reminds humans that human beings have both a physical and a psychological need to keep at least one foot in the real world. 3D printing has a bright future, not least in rapid prototyping (where its impact is already highly significant), but also in medicine the arts, and outer space. Desktop 3D printers for the home are already a reality if people are prepared to pay for one and/or build one themselves. 3D printers capable of outputting in color and multiple materials also exist and will continue to improve to a point where functional products will be able to be output. As devices that will provide a solid bridge between cyberspace and the physical world, and as an important manifestation of the Second Digital Revolution, 3D printing is therefore likely to play some part in near future.

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