3D printing technology Current Affairs

Scientists develop 3D-printed soft silicone heart

Scientists from ETH Zurich in Switzerland have developed a 3D-printed soft silicone heart that closely resembles and functions like the human organ.

It is not exact biological replica of the actual, but can help to save lives of people who suffer from cardiac failure. It can be also used as an artificial heart in cases when patient is awaiting a heart transplant.

Key Facts

The 3D-printed soft artificial heart is a silicone monoblock with complex inner structure. It weighs 390 grams and has a volume of 679 cubic centimetres. It is made of silicone using a 3D printed mold. It represents one of the most advanced replicas yet created of one of human’s most important organs.

The artificial heart has a right and a left ventricle which are not separated by a septum but by an additional chamber. This chamber is inflated and deflated by pressurised air required to pump fluid from the blood chambers.

This current model is not yet stable enough to be used in an actual patient. At present, it can only work for several thousand beats, lasting around 30 to 45 minutes. Researchers are planning to develop an advanced model which could conceivably work over a period of years.

3D Printing Technology

3D printing is a process of making 3-D (three dimensional) solid objects from a digital file with extreme precision. This technology is also termed additive manufacturing as the 3D printed object is created us additive processes i.e. by laying down successive layers of manufacturing material on each other until the entire object is created. This technology has limitless possibilities and can create almost anything with just raw material and a computer generated model.

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Scientists develop 3-D printing method to make embryonic stem cells

Scientists from China and United States have developed a 3-D printing method to produce highly uniform ‘blocks’ of embryonic stem cells.

The method was developed by the researchers from Beijing based Tsinghua University (China) and Philadelphia based Drexel University (US).

Key facts

  • The new method used extrusion-deposition based 3-D printing technology to produce a grid-like 3-D (three dimensional) cell structure to grow embryoid body.
  • This 3D printed embryoid body demonstrated cell viability and rapid self-renewal for 7 days by maintaining high pluripotentcy.
  • The grown embryoid body in such a controlled manner is uniform and homogenous and serves as a basic starting point for further tissue growth.
  • Potential Applications: These cells are capable of generating all cell types in the body which could be used as the ‘Lego bricks’ to build larger structures of tissues , tissue constructs and even micro-organs.
  • This technique can be further enhanced to produce embryoid body at a high throughput, providing the basic building blocks for tissue regeneration and for drug screening studies.

About 3D printing technology

  • 3D printing is a process of making 3-D (three dimensional) solid objects from a digital file with extreme precision.
  • This technology is also termed additive manufacturing as the 3D printed object is created us additive processes i.e. by laying down successive layers of manufacturing material on each other until the entire object is created.
  • This technology has limitless possibilities and can create almost anything with just raw material and a computer generated model.

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