Liz Do/University of Toronto

Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a handheld 3D skin printer that can apply layers of skin tissue directly onto patients to cover and heal wounds.

According to the researchers, the printer is an alternative to a conventional skin graft, but doesn't require healthy skin to be removed from a donor and grafted on to a patient. Instead, the device fits in your hand and can be used like a white-out tape dispenser, rolling out "bio ink" skin tissue directly on the affected areas. It weighs less than two pounds.

Researchers believe it's the first device that can form skin directly on top of a wound, in two minutes or less.

Human skin may be the next canvas for 3D printing. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have also used 3D printers to place electronics directly on to people's skin, and other prototype skin printers already exist.

This new handheld 3D skin printer hasn't been tested on humans yet, but if you're not too squeamish (warning: there's a little blood) you can watch it work on a pig's wounds in this short video clip.

(Lab on a Chip via New Atlas)

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Health and Wellness Sci-Tech 3D printing