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ARTICLE  

Groundbreaking technology used to print electronics and cells directly onto skin.

New study from the University of Minnesota used a 3D printer to print electronics on a real hand. Possible application of technology could be used to save soldiers in the battlefield to temporarily print sensors on their skin to detect biological or chemical agents. Printed solar cells can also be used to charge electronics.



Researchers also successfully printed biological cells on the skin wound of a mouse. The technique could lead to new medical treatments for wound healing and direct printing of grafts for skin disorders.

"We are excited about the potential of this new 3D-printing technology using a portable, lightweight printer costing less than $400," said Michael McAlpine [...] "We imagine that a soldier could pull this printer out of a backpack and print a chemical sensor or other electronics they need, directly on the skin. It would be like a 'Swiss Army knife' of the future with everything they need all in one portable 3D printing tool."

One of the key innovations of the new 3D-printing technique is that this printer can adjust to small movements of the body during printing. Temporary markers are placed on the skin and the skin is scanned. The printer uses computer vision to adjust to movements in real-time [...]

Another unique feature of this 3D-printing technique is that it uses a specialized ink made of silver flakes that can cure and conduct at room temperature. [...] other 3D-printing inks [...] would burn the hand.

To remove the electronics, the person can simply peel off the electronic device with tweezers or wash it off with water.






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