Surgeons may soon be able to regrow patients’ nerves, such as those in damaged spinal cords, using technology adapted from the type of inkjet printer most of us have connected to our computer at home.
Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), University of Wollongong (UOW) node in NSW, have spent the past three years developing the technology to print living human cells—nerve cells and muscle cells onto tiny biodegradable polymer scaffolds. They’ve also developed a special “ink” that carries the cells.
A breakthrough in the electroactive polymers used to make electrically controlled micro “artificial muscles” could be important for future drug delivery in the body, as well as a having a host of other applications.
The new research, conducted at the Australian National Fabrication Facility’s (ANFF) materials node at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in NSW has produced materials which, unlike earlier versions, do not need to be immersed in an electrolyte solution. They are self-sufficient and can even work in air. Continue reading Micro muscles bend to the task→
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