In the field of medicine, 3D printing of complex living tissues, commonly known as bioprinting, is opening up new avenues for regenerative medicine. With an improved understanding of this technology, researchers are even trying to catalyze the natural healing mechanism of the body by creating porous structures that aid in bone stabilization in the field of orthopedics. This cutting edge technology in conjunction with stem cell research is likely to revolutionize the made-to-order organs, cutting across the transplant waiting lists.
The aerospace industry, an early adopter of this technology, is already designing small to large 3D printed parts, saving time, material and costs. 3D printing also offers the biggest advantage critical to the aerospace manufacturers – weight reduction. It also accelerates the supply chain by manufacturing non-critical parts on demand to maintain just-in-time inventory.
The automobile world is already witnessing crowd-sourced, open-source 3D printed vehicles driving off of the showroom floors. Local motors caught the audience by surprise by 3D printing its car “Strati” live at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.
How about robots with muscle tissue powered parts? The 3D printed "bio-bot," developed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is likely to be really flexible in its movements and navigation. With this breakthrough, researchers are contemplating the possibility of designing machines enabled with sensory responding abilities to complex environmental signals.
So where does all this lead us?
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