Cornell University scientists have used a 3D printer to build a replica of a human ear using silicone. The Cornell scientists, working at the university's Computational Synthesis Laboratory, created a 3D model of the ear using modelling software and used a silicone plotter to produce it.
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A BBC News report video shows the ear being constructed layer by layer with liquid silicone. In the video, Cornell scientist Hod Lipson talks about the possibility of the process being used to create other human tissue including skin, bones and cartilage.
Lipson talked to the BBC about the technology at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In the interview, he mentioned the possible future applications of 3D printing, where in conjunction with an MRI scan 3D printers could be used to ‘re-fabricate’ damaged body parts. 3D printers are already able to partially self-replicate, but the patenting of 3D designs and objects is an area of contention.