Advanced solutions inc has recently released its six axis Bioassemblybot or BAB; it hopes that combining 3D bioprinting technology with an advanced robotic arm will enable this more complex biofabrication to print organs.
- Not New Technology, New Combinations – while neither the 6 axis robot arm nor the bio-printing capabilities are new, their simultaneous use shows great promise.
- Impressive, but no heart yet – While this new combined technology has created some excitement among 3DP enthusiasts, it is merely another intermediate step in the process towards printing fully (physiologically) functional, complex organs, which is still 5-10+ years away.
- 3D money – the system is being priced at $160k.
- Software Ties Robotics And 3D printing together – the robot is equipped with a specialized type of CAD software called TSIM (tissue structure information modeling) that enables the robot to automatically change the “printed output” between the 11 different hyrdogel syringes (explain this a bit more) that are the “ink” of this 3d printer.
- Changed setup – usually 3D printers might resemble a more traditional inkjet printer, but manufacturing organs requires a higher level of precision, and therefore demands a more accurate positioning tool. . .in this case the programmable robotic arm.
- Continuing to Evolve – This is actually the second iteration of this project that was originally called the BAT or Bio Assembly Tool.
- Near Term Reality – While 3D printing physiologically complex biological organs (e.g. hearts, kidneys, lungs, livers, etc) is likely >10 years away, new tools like the BioAssemblyBot (BAB), plus recent advances in creating functional capiliaries could produce a bioficial heart or other organs (part biologically printed and part artificial) in the next 3-5 years. What else is/would be required — “managing” the growth (e.g. halting rapid cell division) and physio function of 3D printed stem cells in vivo, avoiding tissue rejection by the body, et al
- Advanced Technologies Providing Synergy in the Medical Field – In the next 5-8 years there will be significant combinatorial effects among the many advanced technologies and information impacting the medical field – nanotechnology, endogenous and external sensors, robotic surgery, stem cell therapies, DNA and molecular manipulation,3D bio-printing, telemedicine, intelligent analytics for diagnostics and treatment, advanced imaging,et al. These will dramatically transform medicine and healthcare. Indeed, the synergy between these advanced technologies working together will drive some of the most profound changes in the history of medical science.