It’s way too late for Vincent van Gogh, but cutting off your ear is a much less impressive gesture now you can get a new one printed.
This week, researchers at Hangzhou Dianzi University in China unveiled their Regenovo 3D printer. Unlike more familiar 3D printers, which work with plastic or metal dust, Regenovo prints living tissue – such as these little ears.
The Hangzhou team aren’t the only ones 3D-printing spare parts for people. Earlier this year, a team at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, also demonstrated an ear printer, and Organovo in San Diego, California, are on the way to building fresh human livers.
Meanwhile a team at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, has turned human embryonic stem cells into 3D-printer ink. Things are more advanced when it comes to making new bones, as a woman with a 3D-printed titanium jawbone could tell you.