Researchers on the College of New South Wales, Sydney, have developed a versatile 3D bioprinter that may layer natural materials immediately onto organs or tissue. Not like different bioprinting approaches, this technique would solely be minimally invasive, maybe serving to to keep away from main surgical procedures or the removing of organs. It appears like the long run — at the least in principle — however the analysis crew warns it’s nonetheless 5 to seven years away from human testing.
The printer, dubbed F3DB, has a comfortable robotic arm that may assemble biomaterials with residing cells onto broken inner organs or tissues. Its snake-like versatile physique would enter the physique via the mouth or anus, with a pilot / surgeon guiding it towards the injured space utilizing hand gestures. As well as, it has jets that may spray water onto the goal space, and its printing nozzle can double as an electrical scalpel. The crew hopes its multifunctional method might sometime be an all-in-one software (incising, cleansing and printing) for minimally invasive operations.
The F3DB’s robotic arm makes use of three soft-fabric-bellow actuators utilizing a hydraulic system composed of “DC-motor-driven syringes that pump water to the actuators,” as summarized by IEEE Spectrum. Its arm and versatile printing head can every transfer in three levels of freedom (DOFs), much like desktop 3D printers. As well as, it features a versatile miniature digital camera to let the operator view the duty in actual time.
The analysis crew ran its first lab checks on the machine utilizing non-biomaterials: chocolate and liquid silicone. They later examined it on a pig’s kidney earlier than lastly shifting onto biomaterials printed onto a glass floor in a man-made colon. “We noticed the cells develop every single day and improve by 4 instances on day seven, the final day of the experiment,” mentioned Thanh Nho Do, co-leader of the crew and Senior Lecturer at UNSW’s Graduate Faculty of Biomedical Engineering. “The outcomes present the F3DB has sturdy potential to be developed into an all-in-one endoscopic software for endoscopic submucosal dissection procedures.”
The crew believes the machine is brimming with potential, however additional testing might be essential to carry it into the actual world. The subsequent steps would come with finding out its use on animals and, finally, people; Do believes that’s about 5 to seven years away. However, in keeping with Ibrahim Ozbolat, professor of engineering science and mechanics at Pennsylvania State College, “commercialization can solely be a matter of time.”