Scientists create 3D-printed copy of living rat's skeleton


April 10, 2013

Researchers have used a CT scanner and a 3D printer to create a physical model of a live rat's skeleton (Photo: Shutterstock)

Researchers have used a CT scanner and a 3D printer to create a physical model of a live rat's skeleton (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Researchers at Indiana’s University of Notre Dame recently placed an anesthetized lab rat in a CT scanner, created a digital 3D model of its skeleton from the scan data, and then sent that model to a commercial MakerBot 3D printer. A highly-accurate plastic replica of the skeleton was the end result.

According to a paper on the research, it would also have been possible to create models of the rat’s internal organs. It is hoped that such copies – of both animal and human body parts – could someday be used as inexpensive models for anatomy students. The scientists are also in the process of creating models of patients’ organs, for doctors to examine before performing surgery.

The project was initiated by honors student Evan Doney, and performed in the lab of research assistant professor W. Matthew Leevy. A paper on the research was recently published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments.

Last year, Dutch artist Caspar Berger created a 3D printed copy of his own skeleton, based on CT scan data.

Source: University of Notre Dame via Inhabitat

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Big fan of #MakerBot @techsavvynyc the singularity is near #raykurzweil

Mark Derho

WOW!! Don't ever hook a 3D printer up to Skynet or we're going to be seeing lots of Terminators marching down the street in lock step, with phased plasma rifles held at port arms!! It's been well over 10 years now since they built that two chambered heart with the first 3D printer made out of an HP inkjet printer, so I wonder, what else have they made and are not telling us about?? That heart began beating on its own after about 4 hours too! It was on Wired TV.


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