'Bio-inkjet printer' for flesh and bones

Carnegie Mellon scientists work on cellular printouts

Lest there be any doubt about the convergence of digital technology and the human body, consider this: a "bio-inkjet printer."

Popular Mechanics

Carnegie Mellon scientists working on stem-cell research have developed a printer that uses "bio-ink," which Popular Mechanics describes as "solutions of hormones that alter cell behavior." In an article that sounds like natural sci-fi fodder, the magazine says the machine uses a custom-made nozzle that prints highly accurate patterns "to create a blueprint for cells to grow and differentiate into the various types that scientists want to create."

And why not? Manufacturing industries have long been using 3D scanners and printers to make real-life products, so flesh and blood doesn't seem too far off, at least in theory. Let's just hope that the technology doesn't go awry and print out humans that look like flattened cartoon characters.

About the author

    Mike Yamamoto is an executive editor for CNET News.com.

     

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