Researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia are revolutionizing reconstructive surgery through the development of a bioprinter that can produce ultra-realistic 3D-printed ears.
The machine — which is simply nicknamed '3D Alek,' makes use of stem cells as bio-ink. This has been developed through a collaboration between the University of Wollongong and the Australian National Fabrication Facility. The creators refer to the 3D-printed ears as "living ears." The highly specialized machine has already been placed in practice at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney which is "the first hospital in New South Wales to have the high-tech 3D bioprinter on-site."
3D Alek is an extremely important milestone. Not only does it produce realistic 3D-printed ears but it also brings scientists closer to developing "a complex medical procedure for children with microtia."