TECH

3D Printer Can Create Artificial Human Tissue, Say Oxford Scientists (VIDEO)

05/04/2013 14:43 BST

With the promise of being able to print practically any object wherever you are, 3D printers are rightly being touted as a revolution in technology.

Now scientists at the University of Oxford have furthered the potential of the machines by printing artificial human tissue - using just oil and water.

The technique raises the possibility that tissue could be created to replace material damaged in accidents or through illness, or even as a drug delivery system.

Professor Hagan Bayley of Oxford University's Department of Chemistry, said in a statement: "The research is at a very early stage but this is certainly a huge breakthrough."

"The printed structures can carry out the functions of tissues by creating a networks of tens of thousands connected droplets. The raw material is water and what is called lipid molecules, which protects the water and coats it.

"We add chemicals and bio chemicals. This changes the water. After all we humans are made of networks of water droplets. The printer can mimic nerves and are able to transmit electrical signals from one side of a network to the other."

According to National Geographic, the printer can create one drop per second and build structures made of up to 35,000 of them.

By varying dyes in the water and the salt content it can also produce some rather pretty shapes.