Bioprinting the body - can you wrap your brain around it?
3D-printing has never been more on-trend.
But the latest way it’s shaping our lives is both cool – and a little creepy: medical researchers in Spain are 3D-printing human skin.
Today a fully-functioning replica of the body’s largest organ (yes, that’s the skin) can be created in a lab, say scientists from Charles III University of Madrid.
Currently when a patient needs a skin graft, they have to grow skin on other parts of their bodies – a process that can take weeks.
But 3D-printed skin can create skin far more efficiently using the patient’s cells.
The revolutionary new process will also please animal rights activists, as synthetic skin can be used to test chemicals in place of animals.
It’s hoped that it will be a popular within the cosmetics industry, and BioDan Group, a Spanish bioengineering firm, has already announced its plans to commercialise the technology.
This may not be the first time we’ve seen 3D-printed body parts: Andiamo uses the technology to create beautiful custom body braces, Open Bionics 3D-prints incredible robot limbs, and 3D-printed genitalia is inspiring on many fronts.
But we have to say that 3D-printed skin has blown our minds. Can you wrap your brain around it?
Read more: 5 reasons 3D-printing genitalia is great
Read more: Why 3D-printed food is no fad
Kitty Knowles is a Senior Features Writer at The Memo. Kitty previously worked as an online journalist for GQ. She can be found tweeting @KittyGKnowles.