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U=(N/T)M*G: Print

In this day and age, a whole, huge deal is made about cloning. Dolly the Sheep, lab rats, stems cells. The list goes on. And humanity is eagerly waiting for custom, lab grown organs that are tailored with our own genes and available to the mainstream.

The reality is, and what an awesome reality, we’re probably going to get better mechanical models way before we achieve cloned organic replacements. Enter, 3D printing.

Stories abound of the astounding way 3D printing is starting to revolutionize prosthetics. Robert Downey Jr, himself, went and delivered a newly printed Iron Man gauntlet prosthetic to a little boy. Things are amazing. We’ve also started to hear rumbling of organic prints of things like ears, and heart valves.

But way cooler advancements are on the horizon. No, we’re not to printed organic organs just yet, but something just as wild.

Printed silicone hearts, that beat like a real one.

It still needs a lot of work to make it durable, but it looks like human ingenuity has solved yet another crisis with its technological prowess. Before too much longer, cyborg won’t be a part of horror, but a common occurrence in our lives.

Still, it makes for great speculative fiction fodder. Where could this printing revolution take us, now and in the future? Characters that have the trial model for lungs eaten by cancer. Children born with spinal problems, given a new, organic print that grows with them, able to walk into stories and show the rest of humanity the awesomeness of science. Accident victims given new limbs made by the same general concept that gave us access to knowledge if we just picked up the books.

The flip side would be pretty interesting too. What about those that reject even their own transplanted organs, in some far future? Or on a backwater world with primitive technology? Or stranded somewhere? Maybe this knowledge to print our own parts would become the back up when all other medical technology failed in that distance future.

Let’s see what innovations we can do with that.

-T.A. Creech

Science in the pursuit of Fiction.

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