Ultimaker is a Dutch company producing affordable, open source 3D printers. They have close ties to local hackerspaces and eagerly promote collaboration and innovative, open uses of their product. Recently, they shared a story of a Dutch medical researcher, Ernst Jan Bos, who is using the Ultimaker 3D printer to create “scaffolding” upon which new human body parts may one day be grown. Using adult stem cells taken from a patients, new body parts can be grown and then grafted onto the patient.
Ernst Jan Bos (in Dutch) is experimenting with ears, with burn patients in particular in mind. In the video below, he can be seen explaining the process (in Dutch), which includes taking a 3D scan of an existing body part, transferring it to the Ultimaker for printing, then using it as the basis for creating molds for growing the ear.