1. Human organs
Scientists can already print skin, kidneys, liver tissue, heart and a number of other bodies. True, while they are usually smaller than real ones, and therefore suitable only for clinical trials or surgical practice. But in the future, they should seriously help in the fight against various diseases. For example, 3D skin want to use as a wound healing agent. And full-fledged printed hearts or kidneys can shorten the queue for donor organs and save more lives: transplant annually required hundreds of thousands of people.
3D Organs created from real living cells: either from adult stem cells or from a sample taken directly from a person. They play the role of ink, which the printer heads put on an organic or synthetic base. The correct shape, texture and tissue layers are programmed based on the results of the scan – this ensures maximum copy accuracy. The main challenge facing scientists now is find an opportunity create organs capable of functioning inside the body: contact with the nervous and circulatory systems and perform their tasks correctly.
2. Bones and cartilage
But they are already used by surgeons in real life. For example, 3D implants are used to substitutions thigh bones. There are also good examples transplants printed skull bones and cartilage auricle. The next step in the application of this technology may be the replacement of small damaged areas right inside the person. This 3D printing method, according to the researchers, will allow speed up the process and save in cases where speed of reaction is critical, for example, in the treatment of bone cancer.
3D printers come in handy and in dentistry. They simplify the process of creating crowns, bridges and prostheses: the specialist does not need to select sizes manually – the model is formed and printed on the basis of images of the oral cavity. They can also be used as temporary implants to help patients get used to their new teeth and make sure they fit well in their mouths. Technology is safe: for printing use special photopolymer resins. They are strong, retain an aesthetic shade for a long time and do not irritate the mucous membrane.
Hands, feet and other parts of the body. Due to the simplified production process of the 3D prosthesis stand cheaper and faster to create. In the standard scheme, you first need to make a cast of the remaining part of the patient’s limb, then cast a trial version from plaster, then try it on, correct inaccuracies, and only then proceed to create the finished product. In the 3D version, it is enough to collect measurements, correct the model on the screen and print it.
However, such prostheses do not necessarily perform an exclusively cosmetic function. 3D hands with touch controlthat is, a reaction to body signals, or with vibration response for touching objects already exist. In addition, it is easier to replace a printed artificial limb after wear with a similar one by re-creating it according to the saved layout.
3D prostheses can be used not only in humans. For example, in Australia on a printer created artificial leg for a dog
The speed and cost of producing 3D prostheses is a chance for many children: conventional options are too quickly rendered useless due to the active growth of the child. And a printed model can be created even for a one-year-old patient who is just learning movements: such a development has already presented scientists from Lincoln University.
Brands use 3D printers for modeling future products or creating unusual shapes of familiar food. Creative serving options are also used in some restaurants. In 2016, an entire establishment was temporarily opened in London, the menu of which consisted entirely of dishes obtained using 3D technology.
But the choice of appearance is not the only plus of 3D food printing. Due to the possibility of virtual programming of the composition, the dishes created by the printer are easy to adjust to the desired nutritional value: control the calorie content, the amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins. This will make life easier for people who are on a strict diet for medical reasons. Also, the printer will allow you to cook the usual food, but from budget ingredients. For example, to form a fish fillet from seaweed. It’s in theory should help in solving the problem of world hunger.
In the future, 3D printers can make the diet more ethical. For example, they will make it possible to stop killing animals for the production of meat products. One of the alternatives is here creation meat is completely based on vegetable ingredients.
Another way is to form “ink” for a 3D printer from a meat sample taken from an animal by biopsy. A device for printing using this technology was created at the Moscow State University of Food Production (MGUPP). True, for a 3D printer to be able to make a whole steak from a tiny piece of fabric, it takes several months. First, the sample is cultured in a bioreactor. When there are enough cells, they begin to form the base – from ingredients of plant origin. After that, animal and vegetable “ink” are alternately applied to it. As a result, the product retains both taste and texture.
The MGUPP 3D printer is capable of printing not only meat, but also, for example, chocolate or dough. University researchers plan to experiment with the technology further to expand their product range.
5. Clothes and shoes
Things created using 3D printing are produced by many brands. For example Nike made on the printer, the upper part of the sneakers, and Adidas – midsole. The dresses of the Dutch designer Iris van Herpen sewn using this technology regularly put on celebrities. Austrian Julia Koerner also works with the printer – accessories that she created in collaboration with costume designer Ruth Carter, wore Angela Bassett in Black Panther.
3D printing in fashion expands the creative possibilities of designers, allowing for futuristic shapes that are difficult to achieve with conventional sewing methods. However, this is not the main advantage of the technology. 3D printer reduces resource consumption: a thing or its element immediately appears in the right size – no extra shreds and threads remain. In addition, 3D fabric requires less water to make than cotton, and it can also be quickly created from recycled or recycled materials. In the future, printing things may destroy fast fashion, allowing you to create them individually, ideally suited to the parameters and requests of the client.
6. Laboratory instruments
Printed instruments, due to the speed and cost of production, can help in research in poor countries. Now there are several projects that create budget microscopes for diagnosing malaria in Tanzania.
3D technologies make science more accessible to amateurs as well. For example, Australian researchers developed microscope attachment for a smartphone and posted files in the public domain: anyone who has a printer can create such a device.
There are buildings with printed walls around the world, including in Russia. 3D printers allow build houses in a few days, while reducing costs and do not require the participation of an entire construction team. Large special equipment is also not needed – you can work even in hard-to-reach places. The construction printer itself weighs a couple of tons, so transporting it to the point is quite realistic.
3D printing expands the creative possibilities: the machine can print curved walls, helical supports and other complex shapes. And the variability of building materials in this technology is large: concrete, sand, volcanic ash or eco-materials like rice husks.
With the help of 3D printers, not only buildings are erected, but also other structures, such as pedestrian bridges. You can go through these, for example, in Amsterdam or Spanish city Alcobendase.