June 28, 2012

Printing Body Parts

The other night my grandson and I were watching a movie called Darkman.  The central character of the movie is a scientist who is trying to create artificial skin to treat burn victims. Horribly disfigured by a set of gangsters who set fire to his lab, the good doctor turns a bit mad and uses his skills to make himself look like his enemies, thereby enabling him to wreak his revenge upon them.

Watching this, I thought this was pretty far-fetched stuff. Creating human skin in 3-D form that could be used to replace body parts? Come on, who do they think they are kidding? That stuff is decades off. Then I came across this video about printing body parts. An earlier post on programmable matter touched on the idea of 3-D printers making coffee cups. Here we have a printer that uses human cells as its ink to fashion ears and other useful spare parts.

Like it or not, the future is coming at us fast. A world we can hardly imagine is taking shape right before our eyes. We push up against the barrier that separates us from the gods, a barrier that is far more permeable than we might ever have imagined. Are we ready for this? God only knows.

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