Scientists have taken another step towards Sarah Connor's worst nightmares by creating a bionic ear - that is far better than our own.

Princeton University researchers used 3D printers to build an ear cell-by-cell, and then fused it with a small coiled antenne.

Before the development of 3D printing, 2D electronic devices could only be attached to the surface of tissue.

bionic ear 3d printers

A cell culture was inserted into the 3D structure to replicate living tissue

The ear was created in order to demonstrate a way to effectively create tissue around a device.

The potential uses for the technology could be profound.

Writing in the journal Nano Letters, the researchers said: "The design and implementation of bionic organs and devices that enhance human capabilities, known as cybernetics, has been an area of increasing scientific interest.

"This field has the potential to generate customised replacement parts for the human body, or even create organs containing capabilities beyond what human biology ordinarily provides."

Furthermore the 3D printers used to create the ear were "off-the-shelf" meaning the method should be relatively easily replicated.

3D printing technology is advancing at a rapid rate - last month Dita Von Teese modelled the world's first printed dress.

Some have been rather more cautious suggesting it could herald an era where anyone could in theory print guns and weapons in their own home.

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