Insta-ear: 3-D printed body parts

We’ve waxed poetic about 3D printers before, and now this piece of health News from NPR:

An ear, unsurprisingly, is difficult to make from scratch. Ear cartilage is uniquely flexible and strong and has been impossible for scientists to reproduce with synthetic prostheses.

If a child is born without one, doctors typically carve a replacement ear out of rib cartilage, but it lacks the wonderfully firm yet springy qualities of the original ear. And it often doesn’t look so good.

So why not print one?

Print-out ears may be one step closer to reality, now that scientists are figuring out how to tweak 3-D printers to craft customized ear cartilage out of living cells.

Read the full news piece here.

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