This story appears courtesy of our colleagues at U of T Engineering News.
While some of us are using the new power of 3D printers to make smartphone cases and chocolate figurines, two engineering students from the University of Toronto are using them to print functional human skin.
On September 18, Arianna McAllister and Lian Leng were named the Canadian winners of the 2014 James Dyson Award for their invention, the PrintAlive Bioprinter.
This story was covered by CBC News and BBC News. The BioPrinter team is working with MaRS Innovation to commercialize their technology; read the news archive.
The machine – created in collaboration with Professor Axel Guenther, alumnus Boyang Zhang and Dr. Marc Jeschke, head of Sunnybrook Hospital’s Ross Tilley Burn Centre – prints large, continuous layers of tissue that recreate natural skin.
“It’s one thing to invent a machine that prints skin, but it’s a whole other challenge to bring what seems like the domain of mad science to mass production,” Matthew Braga wrote in “Looking for ways to get ‘skin’ in the game,” published in the Financial Post on July 15.
The article focuses on MaRS Innovation’s (MI) and the Innovations and Partnerships Office’s (University of Toronto) joint efforts to commercialize the bio printer, a “prototype 3D printer that, instead of extruding layers of plastic and other inorganic materials into physical shapes, builds layer upon layer of cell-laden tissue, a process that could lead to the cheap, rapid production of human skin.”
Braga’s article was syndicated in the Regina Leader Post, the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, and the Vancouver Sun, among other Canadian publications.
Sie manages the Bioprinter technology, which was touched upon during the interview. The bioprinter was invented by Axel Guenther, a professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, PhD student Lian Leng and a team of other researchers.
The Globe and Mail covered the Bioprinter’s development on January 20, 2013; an excerpt of their interviews with Leng and Guenther was included in the program.
Bioprinting and the Internet of Things
The Agenda’s 3D printing episode also included a second segment exploring its implications for home manufacturing and civil liberties. The guests included Matt Ratto, assistant professor in U of T’s Faculty of Information and co-inventor and CEO of Shotlst (a UTEST company).
Professor Matt Ratto, co-founder of Shotlst and director of the Critical Making Lab, discusses 3D printing, home manufacturing and civil liberties on TVO’s The Agenda.
Ratto described his experience downloading and printing the Liberator, a gun that can be printed using 3D printing technology, to better understand the process required and the resulting gun’s capabilities.
MaRS Innovation’s Fanny Sie, project manager in physical sciences and medical devices with specialization in medical imaging, is appearing on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin at 8 pm on June 5, 2013 to discuss 3D printing and the technology’s applications in healthcare and other aspects of human society.
Sie manages the Bioprinter technology, which was invented by Axel Guenther, a professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, PhD student Lian Leng and a team of other researchers. The Globe and Mail covered the Bioprinter’s development on January 20, 2013.
“The Inventor of the Year Award is meant to recognize inventions that have the potential to improve our quality of life,” said ProfessorPaul Young, vice-president (research and innovation) and a member of MaRS Innovation’s Board of Directors. “The winning inventions represent the very best of innovation at U of T, and on behalf of the university, I extend my congratulations.
Health reporter Beatrice Politi also covered the Bio Printer project for Global News Toronto January 21. Her video segment includes an interview with PhD student Lian Leng and a look at the existing Bio Printer prototype.