Key idea: Instead of surgically placing medical implants, doctors may one day build them inside patients’ bodies thanks to direct sound printing — a new 3D-printing technique powered by sound waves.
Original author and publication date: Kristin Houser – June 17, 2022
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Print objects and organs inside our bodies? We really need to think about that.
From the article:
The challenge: Because 3D printers can construct complex shapes to precise specifications, they’ve become incredibly useful in medicine, allowing doctors to build bespoke knee implants, jaw bones, and more for their patients.
After their custom body part is 3D printed, though, patients typically still need to undergo open surgery to have it implanted. Those surgeries can require long recovery periods and leave patients susceptible to infection.
What’s new? Researchers at Concordia University have developed a new 3D printing technique that could allow doctors to construct objects inside patients’ bodies — potentially eliminating the need for open surgeries.
For a study published in Nature Communications, the researchers demonstrated their technique (“direct sound printing”) by filling containers with liquid resin. They then used focused sound waves to alter the pressure inside tiny bubbles within the resin.
“We found that if we use a certain type of ultrasound with a certain frequency and power, we can create very local, very focused chemically reactive regions,” said lead author Mohsen Habibi.
“Basically, the bubbles can be used as reactors to drive chemical reactions to transform liquid resin into solids or semi-solids.”