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Inkjet Printers Inspire Skin Printing Machine

2011-02-23 09:20:01

Published on 2011-02-23 09:20:01

Printers, which use ink cartridges, have inspired scientists to develop a modified machine to 'print' skin that could one day be used to treat wounded soldiers.

CNN reports that researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in the US came up with the idea after realising the true potential of the standard inkjet.

"We started out by taking a typical desktop inkjet cartridge. Instead of ink we use cells, which are placed in the cartridge," Dr Anthony Atala, director of the institute, told the news provider.

The 'bio-printer', which is expected to take another five years of development, could eventually be used to rebuild damaged skin.

Scientists took an everyday printer and added a three-dimensional "elevator" that adds new skin cells to damaged tissue.

The process involves using a small sample of skin from a patient and replicating it into larger quantities in a lab.

"Once we make those new cells, the next step is to put the cells in the printer, on a cartridge, and print on the patient," Dr Atala told CNN.

"It's like a flat-bed scanner that moves back and forth and put cells on you."

Recently, a tactile printer was used to produce images that the blind can 'see'. US scientists have developed a program which creates profile pictures akin to the ones seen on social networking sites, printed in such a way that blind people can interpret them.

Posted by Johnny McMaster.

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