Additive Orthopaedics Gains FDA Approval for First 3D Printed Talus Implant

by Michael Molitch-Hou

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the approval of a new 3D printed implant, the Patient Specific Talus Spacer from Additive Orthopaedics. The device is described by the FDA as “the first in the world and first-of-its-kind implant to replace the talus.”

The talus is the bone in the ankle that joins the leg and the foot. In particular, this world first could be used to treat avascular necrosis (AVN) of the ankle joint, in which bone tissue is destroyed by a lack of blood supply to the area. AVN is typically the result of an acute injury, such as a broken bone, or prolonged tissue damage. In joints, the cartilage that prevents bones from grinding against one another can degrade over time, resulting in arthritis and pain. In the case of the ankle, the talus may collapse and require the fusing of joints, which can reduce pain but makes movement of the joint impossible, or even amputation of the leg below the knee.

Now that there is a 3D printable implant to treat this problem, it may be used to replace other surgical interventions and spare the joint of people suffering from late-stage AVN. As the name suggests, the Patient Specific Talus Spacer is tailored to each patient based off of their computed tomography data. The damaged talus can then be replaced with a 3D printed, cobalt chromium replacement that perfectly fits the patient’s anatomy.

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Portable Factory

The United States Department of Defense just awarded a contract to additive manufacturing company ExOne to develop 3D printing mini-factories that could be deployed into the field during a military operation.

The factories are essentially complete 3D printing labs that can be housed entirely within a shipping container, according to Interesting Engineering. It’s an intriguing — though not unprecedented — idea that the Defense Department says will help improve military logistics and allow for parts and tools to be replaced as needed on the spot.


3D Printed Steaks Are a Real Thing Now

By Lauren Rouse

3D printing meat is one thing, but 3D printing a mouthwatering steak is living-in-the-future level shit. A team in Israel has figured out how to do just that by bioprinting the world’s first cultivated rib-eye steak.

Aleph Farms announced it had produced the world’s first slaughter-free rib-eye steak through the use of 3D bioprinting technology and real cow cells. The company worked with the Technion Israel Institute of Technology on the project.

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GE Developing 3D Printed Device to Convert Air into Water for US Military

by Emily Pollock

A team led by GE Research has been given a multi-million dollar contract to develop 3D printed atmospheric water collectors for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Atmospheric Water Extraction (AWE) program. The prototypes, which will use heat exchange principles to draw water from the air, could eventually supply water for companies of up to 150 soldiers, even in a desert environment.

The AWE is a DARPA program aimed at reducing the risks and expenses of getting water to U.S. troops stationed in arid climates. To cut down on the need for a water supply chain, they’re investing in water extraction directly from the air. While there are atmospheric water capture devices on the market today, they work on the same principles as dehumidifiers in a standard air conditioning unit, making them bulky and unusable in an arid environment. AWR is looking into smaller, lighter and more efficient atmospheric water extraction, with materials that stay stable over thousands of extraction cycles. The project has two tracks: expeditionary (which would supply water to a single warfighter) and stabilization (which could supply up to 150 people).

AIR2WATER is one of five teams to be awarded in the most recent round of funding. The four-year, $14.3 million project aims to develop a water absorber that can be lifted by four individuals and supply water for 150 people. There are two arms to the AIR2WATER project: developing coating materials called “sorbents”, and developing 3D printed heat exchangers to make the sorbents more efficient.

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MIT is building a ‘one-stop shop’ for 3D-printing robots

By Brian Heater

Additive manufacturing has proven an ideal solution for certain tasks, but the technology still lacks more traditional methods in a number of categories. One of the biggest is the requirement for post-printing assembly. 3D printers can create extremely complex components, but an outside party (be it human or machine) is required to put them together.

MIT’s CSAIL department this week showcased “LaserFactory,” a new project that attempts to develop robotics, drones and other machines than can be fabricated as part of a “one-stop shop.” The system is comprised of a software kit and hardware platform designed to create structures and assemble circuitry and sensors for the machine.

A more fully realized version of the project will be showcased at an event in May, but the team is pulling back the curtain a bit to show what the concept looks like in practice. Here’s a breakdown from CSAIL’s page:

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A 3D printed house is for sale in New York. Builders say it will cut housing construction costs

The Riverhead, New York, home is listed online through Zillow with an asking price of $299,999. 

By Cole Higgins, CNN

(CNN)You’ve probably heard of 3D printed face masks and even 3D printed hands, as 3D printing technology has expanded over the past few decades. Now a company says it has listed the first 3D printed house in the United States for sale. The Riverhead, New York, home is listed online through Zillow with an asking price of $299,999. “This is the future, there is no doubt about it,” says Kirk Andersen, the director of operations at SQ4D Inc.SQ4D uses automated building methods, or 3D printing, to build structures and homes.”What we want to do is print homes fast, and cheap and strong,” Andersen said.

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Researchers create a 3D-printed bioresorbable airway stent

By Shane McGlaun 

Researchers from ETH Zürich created a new 3D-printed airway stent that is bioresorbable. Researchers believe the new stent could simplify the future treatment of upper airway obstruction. The new device is usable for treating narrowing of the trachea or the main bronchi due to injury or illness.

This type of injury or illness can lead to death because it can restrict the amount of oxygen the person gets to the brain. Today, surgeons use stents made of silicone or metal as a way to treat those patients. However, metal stents have to be removed surgically when they’re no longer needed leading to the potential for infections and surgical difficulties.

Silicone stents can migrate away from the insertion site. Researchers say that is because the implants aren’t adapted to the patient’s anatomy. The new stent developed by the researchers is tailored specifically to the patient and is bioresorbable. Being bioresorbable is important because it allows the stent to gradually dissolve after it’s implanted.

The 3D printing process used to create the stent is known as digital light processing and uses light-sensitive resins that have been adapted specifically to this purpose. The process requires researchers to create a computer tomography image of a specific section of the airway. That image is used to develop the 3D model for the stent before transferring the data to the DLP printer.

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Sustainable designs are now taking center stage in the design world as we battle the climate crisis affecting several industries. To implement sustainability in architecture is trickier given the scale of design but if we find the right solutions, the impact will also be big enough to cause ripples of positive changes. Fun fact: it is not the aviation industry but actually the construction industry that contributes to the global greenhouse gas emissions and the difference is 2% vs 39%. In fact, cement alone is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions which is why the need for more sustainably constructed housing arose. Mario Cucinella Architects and WASP decided to do something about it and designed TECLA – a completely 3D printed global habitat based on natural materials.

TECLA’s construction started as a prototype in 2019 near Bologna, Italy as a response to pressing societal issues of explosive population growth which inevitably led to a lack of affordable accommodation. TECLA is created using entirely reusable, recyclable materials taken from the local terrain – it aims to be a model for circular housing as well as eco-housing. The habitat has been designed by Mario Cucinella Architects and brought to life by WASP’s engineering and printing tech. TECLA is set to be the first house to be entirely 3D-printed using locally sourced clay which has been used for centuries in countries like India as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to cement – clay is a biodegradable and recyclable material that will make the building a zero-waste structure. The project’s name comes from an imaginary city described by writer Italo Calvino, it will be built using multiple collaborative 3D-printers all working at the same time – a feat in itself given the scale.


Novameat 3D Prints “World’s Biggest” Cell-Based Meat Prototype

By Vanesa Listek

Alternative meat startup Novameat has unveiled what it calls the world’s biggest piece of cell-based, whole-cut meat analog. Since its foundation in 2018, the Barcelona-based startup has been 3D printing plant-based meat substitutes to combat the unsustainable and insufficient global agricultural system and solve the world’s food supply problem. The news comes weeks after Novameat received €250,000 through the Spanish government to ramp up 3D printed meat production by integrating its microextrusion-technology into higher-output industrial printing machines.

Novameat’s proprietary technology mimics the texture, taste, appearance, and nutritional properties of animal meat products, including beef steaks. Based on CEO and Founder Giuseppe Scionti’s decade-long tissue engineering research, the company’s microextrusion platform takes in vegetable fat (3%), water (72%), and plant protein sources (25%) to print a meat fiber matrix that looks and tastes like the real thing.

Novameat released the “world’s biggest piece of cell-based whole cut analog meat.

In an interview with the media site FoodNavigator, Scionti revealed that Novameat’s latest development, along with the 3D printing technology that created it, could be a game-changer for the cultured meat industry. Scionti referred to his new product as a “hybrid meat analog” since his company mixed mammalian adipose cells with a biocompatible plant-based large-scale scaffold with a volume of 22,500 mm3.

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Ceramic ink could allow doctors to 3D print bones directly into a patient’s body

By Luke Dormehl

The term 3D bioprinting refers to the use of 3D printing technology to fabricate biomedical parts that, eventually, could be used to create replacement organs or other body parts as required. While we’re not at that point just yet, a number of big advances have been made toward this dream over the past couple of decades.

Now research from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, have demonstrated a promising advance in one of the toughest areas of 3D bioprinting: 3D printing bones.

They have developed a special ceramic ink that’s able to be printed with live cells, and without dangerous chemicals, at room temperature. The eventual goal is to be able to 3D print bones directly into the cavity of a patient, for scenarios in which a certain portion of bone has been removed or destroyed.

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3D bioprinting technology to detect drugs’ toxicity

Hepnalysis is creating 3D bio-printed human liver models to detect the toxicity of drugs and reduce costs in the development of medicines.

To create liver human models bio-printed in 3D to detect the toxicity of drugs and reduce costs in the development of medicines is the objective of the Hepnalysis project, promoted by Cytes Biotechnologies, a spin-off by the UB with its base in the Barcelona Science Park (PCB), and the French company CTIBiotech.

The liver damage caused by medicines is a medical, scientific and public health-problem which is becoming more important every day. The hepatic injury induced by idiosyncratic drugs, known as drug-induced liver injury (DILI), is an usually under-diagnosed pathology that affects between one and two million patients per year worldwide. Also, it is the most common cause of acute liver failure –more than 50% of the cases– and the primary reason why the drugs are removed from the market –about 30%– and hospitalizations related to medicines.

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GM Opens Its First Major 3D Printing Facility for Production Car Parts



General Motors announced on Monday the opening of a new ground-up facility dedicated to additive manufacturing. That means GM’s engineers will have access to an entire branch whose main purpose is rapid prototyping, which will not only speed up vehicle development but also significantly cut down on the costs required to design a new car.

The new 15,000-square-foot facility, called the Additive Industrialization Center (AIC), houses 24 3D printers capable of printing parts using different manufacturing techniques to produce components in both polymer and metal solutions.

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