Printing Human Tissue
I was thinking about printing out an actual scan of a deformed child’s skull in real size in 3D. Its part of my augmented 3D interface for radiologists to report and discuss their findings. Unfortunately its still very expensive to print in 3D, but I was messing around with the generated 3D model a bit…. slicing it up was a great idea, because i am saving a lot of support material during the print. So I am down to 2000 sek , thats about 200 euros (from originally 10000 sek).
I think 3D printing will become very cheap and quite common in the near future. Having your personal 3D printer at home and printing at prices similar to 2D paper prints will definitely be around at some point. Therefor I think its not a big deal to suggest 3D printouts for some cases in the radiology department. Especially since we are scanning 3 dimensional bodies, its only natural to look at them in 3D and also touch them. Touching could especially be interesting if the 3D printout is actually a print of human tissue, and so behaves and feels exactly like the part in the patients body. Imagine the radiologist can print out the tumor he/she identified and give it to the surgeon. The surgeon can see and feel the tumor and use it as reference during the surgery – this idea was inspired by an actual fact during some surgeries. There are some surgeries nowadays in which the removed tissue is send back to the radiology department, so the radiologist can scan and compare it to the initial body scan and see if everything was removed as planned.
Printing human tissue has already been done. There is a lot of examples in medicine research to grow bones and living organs to replace damaged body parts in human bodies. Also there are some examples in the arts using “artifical” human tissue. See yourself:
Individually Manufactured Replacement Bones in Clinical Trial (medGadget)
A new way to print bones (ZDNet)
Thumbs up for 3D bone printer (NewScientist)
Print me a heart and a set of arteries (NewScientist)
Printing Organs on Demand (Wired)
Tiny Doll made of living cells (PinkTentacle)
Biojewellery (jewellery made by growing bone from your own DNA)
Thanks to Matt and Mikko, both their projects here at Umea Institute of Design are really inspiring for this concept.
3D-Doctor a 3D imaging software is already using normal 3D printers to print out models of bones from body scans. Its not real bone tissue… but still very interesting.
Advanced Custom Made Implants uses the same technology to print custom made implants, but also no real bone tissue.
and here is an interesting article about reproducing the natures complex internal bone structure to produce strong artifical bones.