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Researchers 3D-Print Electronics, Cells Directly on Skin

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Direct three-dimensional printing on a live human hand.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a method for the three-dimensional printing of circuits directly onto live human skin.

Credit: McAlpine group/University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota researchers have printed electronics on a real hand for the first time, using a customized, low-cost three-dimensional (3D) printer.

Soldiers could use the technology to print temporary sensors on their bodies to detect chemical or biological agents, or to print solar cells to charge electronics.

The team also successfully printed biological cells on a mouse's skin wound, in a technique that could lead to new medical treatments for wound healing and direct printing of grafts for skin disorders.

The printer uses computer vision to adjust to small body movements in real time during printing, with temporary markers placed on the skin.

The technology uses a specialized ink made of silver flakes that can cure and conduct at room temperature. The device is not permanent; it can be peeled off with tweezers or washed off with water.

From University of Minnesota Twin Cities
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