3D Printing Current Affairs - 2019
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Scientists from Newcastle University, UK have created world’s first 3D printed human corneas (3D printed thin protective film over eye) that could solve problem of shortage of available eye donors and help millions of blind people gain sight again.
Cornea is outermost layer of the human eye. Its key function is to focus vision. It also barricades eyes against harmful dirt and bacteria. Damage to cornea from injury or infection can distort vision or even lead to blindness.
The 3D printed human corneas were produced using bio-ink solution consisting of healthy corneal stem mixed together with alginate and collagen. The combination of alginate (a gel derived from seaweed) and collagen helps to keep corneal stem cells alive and produces material of necessary dimensions which is stiff enough to hold its shape and soft enough to be squeezed out nozzle of 3D printer.
Scientists have developed a tiny, ingestible 3D-printed snake-like robot called SAW (single actuator wave-like robot), that can navigate through the small intestines.
The snake-like tiny robot was made from a set of interlocking 3D-printed “plastic” pieces that look like vertebrae.
- The robot moves in a wave-like motion and can travel through the extremely squishy environment of the small intestine.
- The external shape of the robot is a 2D projection of a rotating helix, that result in a continuously moving wave. Its direction can be reversed simply by reversing the direction of rotation of the motor.
- In tests, the robot was able to move incredibly fast and cross a wide array of terrains, from water to rough, rocky soil.
- Potential application: It can be used to visualise the digestive system in real time, especially for colonoscopies.