The art of 3D printing refers to any of the various processes that are used to make three-dimensional objects with plastics, polymers, alloys, mixtures of chemical substances and cells. This industrial robot is capable of generating objects of almost any shape or geometry by following instructions and commands from electronic data sourced from a tablet, android or computer.
3D bio-printing is the process of generating spatially-controlled cell patterns using state-of-the-art technologies, wherein cells within the printed structure are still viable and well preserved. The first patent related to this technology was patented in the United States in 2006.
The manufacturing process follows a sequential deposit of material in a spatial manner through nozzles of inkjet printer heads.
Organovo, a San Diego-based firm in the USA was the first company to commercialize 3D bio-printing technology as the 3D bio-printer was optimized to be able to print skin tissue, heart tissue, and blood vessels among other basic tissues that could be suitable for surgical therapy and transplantation. Efforts have also been made by scientists to adapt bio-printing technology to produce soft tissues and artificial bones for use in reconstructive surgery.
To say that the 3D bio-printer would be ubiquitous internet linked equipment is an understatement linkpad because of its versatile potential application in all fields of human endeavor.
Within the next decade, scientists would be looking at the possibility of re-inventing, incorporating or adapting the famous Miller-Urey experiment into 3D bio-printers to enable the machines synthesize or cross-link substances such as sugars and amino acids with the capability of making, peptides, proteins, lipids, genes, telomeres, prions and invariably, living organisms!
As the 3D bio-printer evolves into the realm of science fiction, its impact on human civilization becomes unfathomable.
Would its usage be well regulated by the governments of the day?
Potential applications of the 3D bio-printer include:
• Printing mini organs such as hearts, livers, and lungs as the potential to test new drugs more accurately and perhaps eliminate the need for testing in animals.
• Developing tissue models for research, drug discovery and toxicology.
• Developing essential bio-active proteins such as insulin.
• Developing vaccines.
• Developing more exotic perfumes.
• Developing exquisite wines that even the best connoisseur cannot produce.
• Developing network computers that allow an array of internet-linked 3D bio-printers to generate models in any remote location from the instruction of a computer in workstations.
The time has come for pro-active scientists and activists to begin drafting the framework of regulatory mechanisms that is required to reign in rouge scientists, unscrupulous businessmen and eccentric end-users from turning the cutting-edge 3D bio-printing technology into the harbinger of fast-tracked Armageddon.
What would be the reaction of financial market responses to such massive catastrophe?