3D printing has definitely come some way since it was first introduced, but how about using a 3D printer for biomedical purposes instead of just churning out action figures and toys for your nephews and nieces so that you need not go to the store to purchase one for them and get all bruised up at the checkout counter as you jostle with the mad holiday crowd? Well, it seems that researchers over at the University of Liverpool in the U.K. are working on delivering individualized, natural looking 3D printed skin.
This is no mean feat, almost miraculous actually, since everyone’s skin is more or less different, boasting a whole lot of wrinkles (for some) and veins in various areas. Hence, getting a right match for the person who needs some skin pronto is not exactly a walk in the park, but the project’s leader, Dr. Sophie Wuerger, is feeling optimistic about the entire operation. She and her colleagues are developing a system which will eventually tailor-print skin to match individual patients. This is made possible with the development of a 3D scanning camera that can build 3D images of a patient’s skin in different light levels, while data from such scans will eventually be fed and processed by a computer, resulting in a printout for patient-specific skin grafts.