I remember when I was young, I used to watch on TV The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man. It was called science-fiction shows and I never in a million years, thought that this could become real one day. Well, it seems that science-fiction turned into reality and that the bionic technology is available, with superhuman hearing ability to boot.
Princeton University scientists developed a bionic ear which has capacities that surpass the human ear, as it can “hear” radio frequencies far beyond the normal human ear faculty.
But the amazing part is that this beauty was printed with a simple 3D printer.
Ok, nothing amazing about that, organs have been 3D printed in the past. But the really fascinating part is that this bionic ear was printed with intertwined electronic parts fixed in it. This is the first time that researchers have demonstrated that 3D printing is effective for mixing tissue with electronics.
The primary goal was to merge electronics with tissue. First, the researchers 3D printed cells and nanoparticles than a cell culture to implant a small coil antenna with cartilage. The process took hours because the printing was done layers by layers. Afterward, researchers submerged the printed ear in a solution that stimulated the calf cells to grow cartilage around the electronics, which embedded it naturally
Michael McAlpine, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton and the project’s lead researcher, said that further work and testing must be done before the bionic ear could be used on a patient.
In the meantime, you can watch a video below that will give you more information on the subject. In this video, you will also hear the bionic ear listening to Beethoven!
Photo credit: YouTube/CEN Online