See a 3D printer capable of implanting electronic devices in the skin

Have you ever imagined a future when a portable 3D printer could add technological features to the skin of humans? For that future has come, and researchers at the University of Minnesota in the United States have done it with a device that costs less than $ 400, nearly $ 1, 000 in direct conversion.

Despite this somewhat cyberpunk, transhumanist appeal, the creators' initial intention is to make life easier for soldiers on the battlefield. “We thought a soldier could put this printer in a backpack and print chemical sensors or other electronics he needed right on the skin, ” says mechanical engineering professor and research chief Michael McAlpine.

The printer works in a simple way and is able to print even if the user's hand is not completely still. First, it positions a series of markers, then a scanner identifies the position of each marker to connect the lead wires that will integrate the entire circuit and give the futuristic touch to the skin.

“The printer can track the hand using the markers and adjust the movements and contours of the hand in real time and then print the electronics that keep its circuits in shape, ” adds McAlpine.

Another significant advantage presented in this new device is the ink used by it. While the material used in other 3D printers needs high temperatures to dry properly, University of Minnesota equipment ink “cures” at room temperature, making the process more agile and accurate.

More applications

If the warlike apparatus may even sound like a waste of resources, the project manager warns that one of its future applications may also be in the health field. His department has partnered with the university's pediatrics department to develop a treatment method for rare skin diseases by implementing cells using 3D printers.

The full study, funded by the state fund Regenerative Medicine Minnesota and the National Institutes of Health, is available at this link.

See a 3D printer capable of implanting electronic devices in the skin via TecMundo