A Maryland couple has begun using a 3D printer to make artificial rodents for lab dissection. While the 3D-printed rats may seem like a strange idea, the synthetic rodents offer a safer and more humane alternative to real rats.
According to the National Anti-Vivisection Society, as many as 12 million rats are dissected in the US every year. To help reduce the amount of live animals needed for this process, a Maryland couple has begun using a 3D printer to design accurate anatomical models for educational purposes. While their current model is only a prototype, the couple plans on making the schematics available for free in order to make scientific education more widely accessible.
The artificial rodents are not only cheaper and more humane alternative to real rats, they also reduce a student's exposure to the harmful chemicals used to preserve the rats. With so many advantageous qualities, these 3D-printed rats may soon become a classroom staple.