The synthetic droplet networks can perform some of the functions of the cells inside our bodies (Photo: Oxford University/G Villar)
The droplet network printer consists of two droplet generators, each with a glass capillary nozzle, next to an oil well mounted on a motorized micromanipulator (Photo: Oxford University/G Villar)
A 3D printer built at Oxford University can produce droplet networks capable of folding into different shapes after printing (Photo: Oxford University/G Villar)
While the prospect of 3D printers pumping out biological tissues and replacement organs has many justifiably excited, researchers at Oxford University have gone in a slightly different direction with the creation of a custom 3D printer capable of producing synthetic materials that have some of the properties of living tissues. Rather than being intended for supplying spare parts for damaged replicants, the new materials could be used for drug delivery or replacing or interfacing with damaged tissues inside the human body.
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