Bioprinting is a technology that is rarely discussed in regards to innovative steps forward in technology, but it could be every bit as important as commonly discussed fields such as artificial intelligence and robotics. Here is an insight into what exactly bioprinting is, and what it could offer to a wide variety of industries.
What is bioprinting?
Bioprinting is a process through which you can manufacture biological materials, with the intention of creating natural (or as close as can be) tissues.
These tissues are created in a layer by layer manner, meaning that tissues are built up gradually in the same way that 3D printed products are created. Whilst the process is currently relatively simple and only able to create quite basic tissues, as the technology develops, it’s increasingly likely that more complex organs and tissues will be possible.
This makes the technology useful in a couple of very important industries.
The field of medicine will be able to see some very clear benefits from the use of bioprinting technology.
Tissues such as skin and bone are already able to be printed, allowing for skin grafts and bone repairs to become a much simpler process. Without the need to remove the skin from one part of the body to another, skin grafts will also become far more comfortable for the patient.
Additionally, as the technology moves forwards, the printing of complex organs could become much more feasible. By printing whole organs, the transplant process becomes much simpler, as you don’t need to spend months labouring to find a match.
As the world’s population grows and grows, the risk of food shortages comes with it. This is a very real and likely danger that could ultimately lead to many people starving, bioprinting offers a significant avenue for a solution.
By bioprinting plants and cultured meat products, food can be created en masse without the need for sprawling farms that cover hundreds of square miles. The food production process would be much more efficient, and more people could eat more food. This would even allow vegetarians and vegans to access a whole range of otherwise unavailable options guilt-free.