OK so it doesn’t actually print the face of Liam Neeson (yet), but researchers at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have successfully tested a bioprinter that outputs living skins cells directly onto burn wounds.
It acts just like your home printer, right down to the inkjet valve and vials of skin-cell “ink” that it sprays onto a wound. The printed skin graft consists of two separate layers — one is a mixture of skin cells with fibrinogen and Type I collagen (which each help with blood clotting and scar tissue formation, respectively); the second layer is thrombin, another clotting agent. The whole mixture has “a consistency similar to jello — so that [it] will adhere to the wound,” say the researchers.
Head over to FastCo for more.
So, this exists. Street Anatomy, created by Vanessa Ruiz, is a wonderful blog that documents the convergence of medicine, art, and design. I’ve spent all morning scrolling through the archives and you should too.