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The cartridges are washed out and refilled with suspensions of living cells; the software that controls the characteristics of the ink is reprogrammed and you're good to go. Boland and Mironov use layers of "thermo-reversable" gel to build up three-dimensional structures like tubes—capillaries, to use the medical term. When the tiny droplets, or clumps, of cells came together closely, they fused; the gel can be easily removed, leaving a tube of tissue.
Just as printers contain inks of different colors, so tissue printers could contain different cell types to create complex structures.
Now, it seems to me that a tube or complex living organ is a pretty complicated structure. Why not practice with a simpler, more two-dimensional form of muscle tissue—like bacon, for instance? Nothing like fresh bacon.
Originally posted by Frosty
These kinds of ideas have circulated around for decades since the first thought of using such a technique for quantum (nano) engineering was established. This sounds more like a pipe dream to me.