Devices like the 3Doodler and SwissPen literally put 3D printing technology in the hands of consumers, but a new BioPen developed at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia is targeted at more skilled hands. The handheld device is designed to let surgeons "draw" live cells and growth factors directly onto the site of an injury to help accelerate the regeneration of functional bone and cartilage.
Instead of plastic filament, the BioPen extrudes cell material inside a biopolymer such as alginate, which is in turn encased in an outer layer of gel material. Both the outer and inner layers are combined in the pen head as it is extruded and the surgeon "draws" to fill in a section of damaged bone.
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