3-D printed electronics printed directly on skin
At the University of Minnesota researchers used a low-cost printer to create 3-D printed electronics on a real hand for the very first time. They also managed to print biological electronics on a wound of a mouse, for a quicker healing process.
Due to the researchers, this new technology could have a great potential and be possibly used by soldiers on the battlefield to print temporary sensors on their bodies in order to detect solar cells or chemical agents. “We are excited about the potential of this new 3D-printing technology using a portable, lightweight printer costing less than $400,” said Michael McAlpine, the study’s lead author, in a press release.
They even think it could be possible for a soldier to carry the small printer in their backpack and pull it out to print electronics they need directly on the skin.
Another great aspect about the 3-D printing technique is, that this printer can track the contours and movements of the hand, so the 3-D printed electronics would keep the perfect shape. Furthermore, the ink that this 3-D printer uses is a specialised ink made of silver flakes that can cure and conduct at room temperature.
So, to remove the 3-D printed electronics from skin, the soldier can simply peel them off or wash them off with water.
This new feature, compared to other 3-D printers, also helps with skin diseases. Like in the test with the wounded mouse, researchers were able to show that this technique could be useful for advanced medical treatments for those with skin diseases.