A new way to fix things up when you’ve made a hole in yourself.
Our usual experience of inkjet printing technology is in making pretty pictures. Things are a little different over at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where researchers have been exploring the potential to print human skin on demand.
Using multiple print heads, a mixture of blood coagulants is combined with collagen to form skin cells and project them directly onto an open wound. The process works in much the same way as quick-setting resins, yet in this case proteins form when the different molecules mix.
It’s hardly surprising that this technology is being developed for the battlefield; a place where people are particularly good at making holes in each other. Current trials have successfully patched up laboratory mice, with pigs next in line and humans still some way off.
From 3d printed bones and now WFIRM skin printing, digital manufacturing technologies continue to be pushed towards more noble purposes.
At the very least, it’s good to see that there will some day be a way to reverse those laser cut tattoos.