3D Printing Directly onto skin now a Reality!
Researchers recently used a cheap custom 3D printer to print electronics and biological skin cells directly onto skin. A recent study conducted by the researchers from University of Minnesota, show them printing 3D electronics directly onto skin. This could open up a host of applications in various fields. With this technique too no one would be in harm of burning their hands either. The ink used for this type of printing is a unique one and would not cause a person any harm otherwise there wouldn’t be any point in 3D printing electronics onto skin.
3D printing electronics onto skin can be used by soldiers on the battle field, for example they print a circuit that would take the form of sensors that would inform them of chemicals or other biological warfare used by the enemy. Soldiers could also print solar cells onto their hands to charge their gadgets used on the field. But printing electronics is not the only thing that can be printed onto ones hand.
3D Printing Skin Cells onto a Hand:
Researchers also used the same 3D printing technique to print biological cells onto a wound of a mouse with amazing results. This again could open up a lot of opportunities in the healthcare sector. This 3D printing directly onto skin could lead to groundbreaking results when it comes to healing of wounds or making grafts for skin disorders.
3D printing directly onto skin- “The Swiss army knife of the future”:
Researchers printed these 3D inks directly onto skin with the help of a standard cheap over the counter printer costing only $400. Scientists believe that with this tech, soldiers could pull out this printer and print any circuit of their choice on their hands, which would help them on a battlefield. Researchers call this the “Swiss army knife of the future”. The soldier would have all that they need in this one 3D printer.
The cool thing about 3D printing tech directly onto skin:
3D printing directly onto one’s hand is a difficult task as the hand has to be exactly in one spot to print a precise circuit otherwise everything would be for naught and no matter how much a person can remain still, there are still minor movements that can cause distortions to the 3D print on skin.
But one amazing thing with this technique is that it continually scans the surface that it is working on, that is a hand and adjusts the printing according to the movements of the hand and all this is done in real time too.
The type of ink used in 3D printing directly onto hand:
Most 3D inks cure at high temperatures and these inks cannot be used to print 3D material onto skin as it would burn the hand. So researchers used a unique ink made of silver flakes to print directly onto skin. This specialized ink can cure and conduct at room temperatures making it an ideal ink for printing directly onto skin. Removal too is easy- all the person has to do is wash off the electronic device or remove it with tweezers.