When I attended the 3D printshow in February in NYC, I was lucky enough to get to sit in on a lecture given by Manu Mannoor -one of the scientists at Princeton University who created a 3D printed ear that can “hear” radio frequencies beyond the normal human range. Using the 3D printing of cells and nanoparticles followed by a cell culture, Mannoor combined a small coil antenna with cartilage, creating what they termed as a ‘bionic ear’. This type of work really opens the door for future biotechnological projects and reminded me of a lot about what we have been discussing in the digital self. The integration of biosensors in the body presents a lot of ethical questions as well.
Also at the 3D print show, I listened to prosthetic designer, Tom Most talk about how 3D printing is revolutionizing traditional orthopedic and prosthetic practices. His methods combine traditional hands-on methods with digital / 3D print processes, creating a better fitting socket, which is lighter, stronger, and less expensive than the traditional methods of fabrication. I am particularly interested in how bio sensors can be used with prosthetics.