A recent research conducted by a team from the University of Minnesota made use of a tailor-made, cheap 3D printer to print electronics on human hand. This was a first. The brand new temporary sensors pasted on the body could enable soldiers on the battleground to sense biological or chemical agents. It can also detect solar cells for charging essential electronics.
The team of researchers also printed biological cells on a mouse’s skin wound. This technique can result in innovative treatments for curing wounds and also direct printing of grafts to thwart disorders of the skin.
The findings of the research has been published in Advanced Materials, an academic journal.
Portable Printer Costs Less than US$400
The new 3D-printing technology which uses a light and portable printer which costs under US$400 could find many path breaking applications. For example, a soldier can put the printer in his backpack from where he can take it out when needed to print a chemical sensor on the skin directly. It is quite similar to pulling out a futuristic “Swiss Army Knife” with everything a soldier needs contained in just a single portable 3D printing tool.
A key benefit of the 3D-printing technique is that it can attune itself to minor body movements while printing. It works by embedding temporary markers on the skin which is then scanned. The printer makes use of computer vision to attune itself to actual movements.