3D Printing of Biomaterials Directly Onto Moving Body

At the 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Vancouver, Canada this week, researchers from the University of Minnesota are presenting a system that 3D prints objects directly onto a moving human body. It’s intended to put down layers of biomaterials that have been developed in the recent years, but which have been limited due to having to be made on a printer and then somehow transferred to the skin. As seen in the video below, the U of Minnesota system continuously tracks the hand while it’s under the printer, and adjusts the position of the nozzle to guarantee the correct position of every drop of bio-ink.

This paper establishes the feasibility of robotically 3D printing biomaterials such as alginate hydrogels onto moving human anatomy and a stationary plane. The alginate hydrogels used are in-vivo compatible and a proven biomaterial for tissue scaffolds. We developed a control scheme for precision material deposition via piezo microjetting while tracking in real-time to continuously sense anatomy location and deposits material in a predefined trajectory derived from two pre-selected target geometries. We show that multilayer 3D structures can be created on a moving human hand with 1.6 mm average error and 87.8% overall accuracy.

Link: IROS 2017

hat tip: SurgRob

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