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3D Printed Bionic Ear That Can Hear Far Beyond The Range of Normal Human Capability

Scientists 3D-print bionic ear that hears beyond human range.Scientists at Princeton University created a functional ear by 3D printing technology, that can “hear” radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capability.

The new bionic ear is a fully functional organ, that not only replicates the real one, but extends it using embedded electronics.


Michael McAlpine an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton and the lead researcher, said:
“In general, there are mechanical and thermal challenges with interfacing electronic materials with biological materials. Previously, researchers have suggested some strategies to tailor the electronics so that this merger is less awkward. That typically happens between a 2D sheet of electronics and a surface of the tissue. However, our work suggests a new approach — to build and grow the biology up with the electronics synergistically and in a 3D interwoven format.”

The researchers wrote in the article which appears in the scholarly journal Nano Letters:
“The design and implementation of bionic organs and devices that enhance human capabilities, known as cybernetics, has been an area of increasing scientific interest. This field has the potential to generate customized replacement parts for the human body, or even create organs containing capabilities beyond what human biology ordinarily provides.”

Standard tissue engineering involves seeding types of cells, such as those that form ear cartilage, onto a scaffold of a polymer material called a hydrogel. However, the researchers said that this technique has problems replicating complicated three dimensional biological structures. Ear reconstruction "remains one of the most difficult problems in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery," they wrote.

Read more: Science Daily
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