You’ve heard of 3D-printed auto parts, robots and even clothes, but a 3D-printed membrane for your heart is definitely out there.
Scientists at the University of Illinois and Washington University have made giant strides towards developing an artificial membrane that can keep hearts beating at a healthy rate and predict heart attacks before they happen.
The scientists began by taking scans of a rabbit’s heart, generating a 3D model of it and printing the model using a 3D printer. The 3D-printed model was then used as a mold to create a silicon membrane custom-fitted to the rabbit’s heart.
The heart was then removed, and the 3D-printed silicon membrane attached to it. Amazingly, the heart kept beating at a perfect pace even though it was outside the bunny’s body.
It is hoped that this technology will be ready for use on human patients in 10-15 years.