The Monash scientists who led the creation of the world’s first 3D-printed jet engine in 2015 are now improving the design and cost of manufacturing medical implants, surgical tools, aerospace components, and more.
They’ve been working with surgeons to design tools for specific operations, to replace ‘one-size-fits-all’ tools currently available.
A new printing technology can now simultaneously print living stem cells and the environment they need to survive and become the right cell type. The first application is a cartilage repair kit.
“Our current 3D printers can integrate living and non-living materials in specific arrangements at a range of scales, from micrometres to millimetres,” says Professor Gordon Wallace, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at the University of Wollongong.
“And we’re developing new approaches that will enable 3D printing of nano-dimensional features.”
Electrodes made of diamond are helping Melbourne researchers build a better bionic eye.
Some types of blindness are caused by diseases where the light-sensing part of the retina is damaged, but the nerves that communicate with the brain are still healthy—for example, retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.
Dr David Garrett and his colleagues at the Melbourne Materials Institute at the University of Melbourne are using diamond to build electrodes that can replace the light-sensing function of the retina: they deliver an electrical signal to the eye via a light-sensing camera.
Researchers in Melbourne will trial a new procedure to reconstruct breasts in patients following mastectomy. The procedure will use the women’s own stem cells instead of silicon.
Focusing on the treatment and recovery of women with breast cancer, the new technique known as Neopec involves the insertion of a customised biodegradable chamber which is contoured to match the woman’s natural breast shape. The chamber acts as a scaffold within which the woman’s own stem cells are used to grow permanent breast fat tissue.