Children who are born with a deformation of the ear can hope. A technique developed by researchers from Queensland University in Australia could help to print ear prostheses in 3D. The reasons for this are obvious: a high degree of precision, smooth and perfectly matched shapes as well as a wide range of colors.
In addition, there is a constant improvement and further development of 3D printers and their materials. Technology lets now produce long-lasting, reliable and thin-walled electronics housing shells.
In 2 Phases To The New Ear
The project is designed in two phases. In a first phase, a cosmetic solution is used transitionally: A 3D ear prosthesis made of medical grade silicone, which is attached magnetically or with surgical adhesive. As a long-term solution, the researchers then want to produce an ear that consists of cells of the child. The organ is to be grown in a bioreactor and then surgically implanted into the child using appropriate hearing technology. Within the next 1-2 years, the 3D printed ear prosthesis should be available.
3D Prosthesis From Ear Cartilage
A child was born on the basis of a congenital, so-called microtia with only one ear. The technique is now to print a 3D prosthesis that corresponds to a natural ear cartilage. If the 3D printer is successful, it could also be used to print other parts of the body. The technology is promising. According to the Queensland University of Technology, researchers are leading the field. Professors say: Nobody has ever printed a 3D prosthesis before. And it will cost the public less than a few new lenses.
In total, the range includes more than 15 biomedically approved materials in different skin tones, different shades and transparent. The process delivers high-quality parts from custom-made materials, from individual earmoulds to trays with integrated faceplates.