3D Bioprinting a Healthier Frankenstein
What if your eyes could be enhanced, beyond 20/20 vision, or have the ability to sync what you see up with a wireless connection? Sounds absurd, we know, but that’s what an Italian company by the name of Mhox wants to achieve via the next 3D bioprinting frontier. They call it EYE, or Enhance Your Eye, and they say that by January 2027 they will have the capability to replace your own eyes with 3D printed prosthetics that will set out to supply a solution for different needs.
Blink to Zoom
There are three reasons that Mhox wants to makes new EYEs: to Heal, Enhance, or Advance your vision. The EYE Heal model would be their most useful contribution, if they pull it off, as they look to solve blindness and visual impairment. The other two models are their buzz-worthy ideas of enhancing your eyes with the aforementioned wifi connectivity, lens filters, and advanced visual acuity.
This sounds nice and all, but will 3D bioprinting technology even get to the point where it is possible to print something as complex as an eye? This is one of the most complex organs in the body. Well, we won’t find the answer to that question anytime in the near future, as Mhox’s EYE is merely speculative product development, with no real skin in the game of human tissue engineering.
One question that begs an answer is how these synthetic eyes would go into your head? Mhox partner and lead designer Filippo Nasetti claims that patients would have their natural eyes surgically removed in favor of a new organic component called the deck. This deck would connect muscle fibers from the synthetic eye to the optical nerves in the brain, and it would allow new eyes to be swapped and upgraded easily.
So, there you have it, a tech company simply explaining that you would just need to take out your eyeballs, the muscle tissue, and then plug-in some new muscle tissue, no problem! All of this within the next 11 years. Well, at least Mr. Nasetti acknowledges there is great risk involved. Source: Mhox
For a more promising look at the 3D bioprinting future, a big breakthrough is about to happen at 3D Bioprinting Solutions in Skolkovo, Russia. They have just successfully printed an actual organ, the thyroid gland of a mouse. The company claims they are on pace to print a fully functional kidney in just three years. The team of scientists at 3D Bioprinting Solutions will soon attempt to transplant their thyroid into a mouse that suffers from hyperthyroidism.
Russian researchers also plan to create a new magnetic generation of 3D printers, to be used in space.
Currently, stem-cells organs are 3D bioprinted with successive layers, due to Earth’s gravity. If these stem cells are placed in the weightless environment of space, they can form into the desired organ on their own, with the assistance of a special magnetic field. The Russian scientists have already been cleared to take their experiments on-board the International Space Station. We can’t wait to see how successful this new form of 3D bioprinting is in just a few short years.