Researchers at Princeton University have brought a new tool into the realm of cybernetics: a 3-D printer.

"Bionic ear" (Princeton University)

The scientists have devised a way to print an ear-shaped chunk of silicone mixed with bovine cells and infused with silver particles that form an antenna. Like any antenna, this one can pick up radio signals.

The 3-D ear cannot replace a human one. It was designed to test what can be done with 3-D printing technology in cybernetics, which is the field of combining biological tissue with electronics.

Michael McAlpine, the professor who led the research, says this is a small step, but the work could eventually lead to a sort of digital sixth sense for humans, giving our bodies the ability to connect to electronic devices.

 

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