The advent of 3D printers has long promised the sort of incredible technological breakthroughs more commonly seen in the realm of science fiction, such as the replicators on the USS Enterprise capable of spontaneously recreating any matter. Now, some of those promises appear to finally be coming to light and, in fact, it seems you can even 3D print new parts of yourself. Here’s a few of the more spectacular 3D printing body-mods on the horizon.
NewScientist recently carried a story about a prosthetic tooth which not only looks and feels like a standard tooth, but will also kill bacteria on contact while leaving your own cells safely intact. Its Dutch inventors are still making it so, for now, filling your mouth of these really would leave you with a multi-million dollar smile.
3D-printed limbs are among the more plausible and low-cost prosthetics available as their mechanical function is significantly simpler and more standardized. So much so, in fact, that one amazing non-profit in Paraguay has put together dozens of low-cost replacement hands for those that need them throughout the country. Click through at the link above to see their work or donate to their outstanding work.
Ears (And Joints And Organs?)
The journal Nature recently carried this astounding coverage of the first early work toward constructing a prosthetic ear, which looks both really impressive and fully, totally gross. The article also details some fascinating research into other organ developments, including those that use liv
ing cells as ‘ink’ to create fully functioning human tissue. Great but, also, yuk!
Possibly the most resolutely science fiction cyborg development is the eye and, while we’re still not that close to having the diagnostic cyber-peepers James Cameron depicted in Terminator, we could be a little closer to 3D printing bionic eyes than you might think as covered in this article, which is good if only because it may introduce you to the weird, wild world of ganglion cells.
Iron Man’s Actual Arm
And while we have already covered hands, it would be remiss of us not to cover arguably the sweetest advance in this technology, its ability to allow Robert Downey Jr the chance to deliver Stark-level Iron Man arms to kids who need proshetics, as in the following adorable video. Sniff. I think I have something in my ganglion cells.