Posted on January 5, 2018 at 12:00 AM by Chuck Fox
3D and 4D printing are influencing manufacturing processes, architectural and design applications, and are enabling the wildest dreams of hobbyists. But the latest news from the 3D/4D printing world is a different kind of game-changer. Printing technology may soon expand its role in the practice of medicine…and not just by improving medical devices. Scientists are working to produce functioning, transplantable human organs.
It sounds like science-fiction, but researchers at the Ingenuity Lab at the University of Alberta have produced 4D printed (also dubbed bioprinted) hydrogen fuel cells in the shape of a maple leaf. The cells are capable of expanding when placed in water and can actually split H2O molecules. The Canadian scientists demonstrated that 4D printing can produce objects that can react to certain chemical stimuli and serve a biological purpose, perhaps overcoming some of the barriers to bio-engineered artificial organs.