SCIENCE

We Can Now 3D Print Using Human Flesh As Ink

Instead of using plastic or metal, the BioBot works with living cells

SCIENCE
Sep 23, 2015 at 6:42 PM ET

It’s an exciting time in the 3D printing world—robots are printing bridges, we’re creating more inexpensive prosthetics and giving cancer patients titanium rib cages. Nothing would be more revolutionary to the medical community, though, than the ability to print human tissue, and by extension, effective human organs.

BioBots, a biotechnology startup founded by University of Pennsylvania graduates, hopes to inch that vision closer to reality with its newly unveiled 3D printer, the BioBot 1. The machine essentially operates just like other 3D printers, but uses “bio-inks,” a blend of cells such as collagen–a protein derived from human cartilage–instead of the typical plastics or metals. This is one more step toward an ultimate goal of biotech, as CEO and co-founder Danny Cabrera recently told Forbes: “The Holy Grail is to develop fully functioning replacement organs out of a patient’s own cells, eliminating the organ waiting list.”

Have $10,000 lying around? You can buy an organ-producing machine for yourself, if that’s your kind of thing.