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3D Printing Body Parts: Free Online University Course Available

3D printing Body Parts

Ever thought about 3D printing body parts? Well, there‘s a free online course for that now offered by an Australian university. 

The University of Wollongong’s Australian Institute for Innovative Materials is looking into the future. They don’t want to just offer a class on printing. They’ve constructed a free online course to give students a look into some of the more forward-thinking uses for 3D printing.

The course title leaves little to the imagination: “3D Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts” is bound to combine numerous aspects of science and printing into four weeks of study. The class is running through the platform Futurelearn. UoW’s Gordon Wallace has taken the lead on the project, and he has designed the course to appeal to general audiences. No developed knowledge of printing is required.

3D printers aren’t just the fun, fancy toys folks use to print knickknacks. Australia has made several advances in biofabrication. UoW has even just launched a bio-fabrication postgraduate qualification. The goal of this brief introduction is to see just how revolutionary the field can be. It should also give an insight into what could be learned through higher education in the field.

Wallace explains that the field is evolving rapidly:

“We started this journey only a few short years ago by taking off-the-shelf office printers and having our engineers rebuild them to be able to print a bio-ink, embedded with human cells, that we had just developed.

What Does this Course Cover?

  • What is 3D printing and how did it come about?
  • Is it really possible to print structures that incorporate both living and artificial components?
  • How long before we can print whole body organs for transplants?
  • What is possible right now, and what will be possible in 20 and 50 years’ time?
  • And what are the limitations of this technology?

While the first class just began earlier this week, there will likely be more opportunities in the future. Check the class out here for more details.

(Via: The Australian)