Humans have come so far technologically-speaking that we’re even figuring out how to recreate the complex components of the human heart. That’s right, a team of researchers over at the Carnegie Mellon University is utilizing new 3D printing technology to produce functional components of the heart—including small blood vessels and large beating ventricles.
Printing tissues capable of functioning like the real thing is particularly challenging. Complex shapes have to be supported as they’re being printed or otherwise they begin to sag. The team solved this issue, however, by printing scaffolds from a temporary support gel.
Although the printed components have yet to make their way into a living body, the researchers say they can contract and expand like the real anatomical parts of the heart. In the future, these parts could be crucial in saving people with damaged hearts.