Princeton: Researchers at Princeton University have brought a new tool into the realm of cybernetics: a 3-D printer. The scientists have devised a way to produce an ear-shaped chunk of silicone mixed with bovine cells and infused with tiny particles of silver that form a coiled antenna. Like any antenna, this one can pick up radio signals that the ear will interpret as sound. The 3-D ear is not designed to replace a human one, though; the research is meant to explore a new method of combining electronics with biological material. "What we really did here was actually more of a proof of concept of the capabilities of 3-D printing," said Michael McAlpine, the professor who led the project. "Because most people use 3-D printing to print passive objects, things like figurines and jewelry." After it`s printed, the 3-D ear is soft and translucent. It is cultivated for 10 weeks, letting the cells multiply, creating a flesh color and forming hardened tissue around the antenna. Manu Mannoor, a graduate student who worked with McAlpine on the project, held up a petri dish in a lab at Princeton last week to show how the process works. The dish was filled with liquid and a partly cultivated ear, and Mannoor said the cells were secreting a matrix, the space between cells that exists in organisms.
Scientists aim to regrow teeth using stem cells
Doctors flay blanket ban on diabetes drug Pioglitazone