A bionic ear with superhuman hearing ability is created.
Scientists at Princeton have combined bioprinted organic materials with embedded electronics to create a bionic ear.
The ear can detect sounds well beyond the typical human range and is also the first attempt to blend human tissue and electronic elements into a single organ.
Blending biological and electronic materials has proven to be a challenge for 2D technologies. According to lead researcher Michael McAlpine, their new method surmounted the difficulties by building and growing, “the biology up with the electronics synergistically and in a 3D interwoven format."
The resulting ear has a cartilage structure and antennae coiled within.
If it were ready for human usage, it would function similarly to a hearing aid.
At this time more testing is needed to make the specific device user-friendly, but the researchers feel it is an important contribution to the growing field of cybernetics.
Not far away at an MIT lab, another scientist has been revolutionizing bionic applications by creating more user-friendly prosthetic limbs.
By feeding MRI scans to a 3D printer, David Sengeh has had great success with making perfect matches at attachment points.