What do you get if you take one part Nexagon, one part eSkin, and one part MakerLegoBot? A theme of printing, manufactured skin and rapid wound healing, that’s what. And it all comes together now in a paper presentation in which the authors (Weixin Zhao, Tamer Aboushwareb, Dennis Dice BS, Anthony Atala, James J Yoo) proposed a portable skin bio-printer.
Sure, you COULD wait around with rapid healing gel smeared on your wounds and let your body do its thing, but that’s not nearly as cool as a printer that can be wheeled ’round to your bed, where it uses YOU as the paper while it prints out instant skin for you.
The proposal is for a unit that would use two print heads to eject a mixture of fibrinogen, collagen and thrombin, which together cause blood coagulation and form connective tissue. These are applied to the wound along with fresh skin cells, closing off the wound once the magic happens.
The first thing that comes to my mind is that this is technology right out of Star Trek. Just imagine this kind of skin bio-printer shrunken down to a hand-held form factor. We’ve seen this before:
Don’t you just love living in the future? Now all they have to do is actually make this thing.
(story and image via Technovelgy; Star Trek image from Memory Alpha)