Today’s Solutions: September 25, 2022

Scientists from Australia have developed a jelly-like material that acts like living tissue. The jelly, which is known as hydrogel, is strong, malleable, and able to heal itself. That could be extremely important for healing people with damaged skin, ligaments, or bones. Hydrogels are 3D polymer structures that are strongly hydrophilic, allowing them to contain over 90 percent water. To date, they’ve been used as scaffolding for bioengineering, self-irrigating wound dressings, contact lenses, diapers, soil moisturizing, and prosthetic limbs. But one feature of hydrogels that is of particular interest to scientists is how they can mimic living tissue – not just in terms of static properties, but also, when stimulated, change volume. According to the researchers, the jelly could be used as a 3D-printable ink and could be scaled up to produce more advanced medical implants. The researchers also say they could find application in the next generation of soft robots, which, as the name implies, are softer robots that could improve flexibility and adaptability for accomplishing tasks as well as improving safety when working around humans.

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