3D Bio Printing

How might we utilize people's love of food to increase curiosity around STEM?

Photo of Jessica Lura
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The next step in 3D printing is 3D bio printing. With one of the 3D bio printer models, you can print using any solution that will go into a syringe-- lotion, chocolate, henna, bacteria, etc.

Students could use a 3d design program such as Tinkercad (it's free!) to create designs. Creating their own henna designs or chocolate creations would be a great way to create interest in CAD drawings, 3-D printers, and other technology for students who might not think that technology is for them.

Chocolate is definitely a gateway drug to almost anything and since there are a lot of science applications with bio printing, it could be a way teach students these specific skills before getting into (seemingly) less interesting science printing. 

And since there are more and more researchers and technology firms focusing on bio printing, it would be a great way to connect with experts who are on the cutting edge of what is happening in science and technology. For example, Autodesk has a bioprinting department (and http://bionano.autodesk.com/) with whom a class could connect to learn about they are working on (human organ 3D printing-- oh my!)

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Photo of Scott Lewis
Team

And don't forget about the whole business/economic lessons that might come with creating chocolate items - students could easily start designing custom chocolate designs for fundraisers that might support more of your printer programs and they could learn marketing, advertising, sales, and accounting lessons with such an effort :) 

Photo of Jessica Lura
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Ohh--yes, there are a lot of applications there...

Photo of Julie Ron
Team

I love the idea of connecting chemistry with this challenge, e.g. testing various recipes and comparing how well they would work with the printer. Do you think this is possible based on what you know about bioprinters?

Having done various chemistry of food activities in the past with students I can attest to the power of this approach! Excited to hear more about your idea, Jessica Lura 

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Julie,
Great question. I have only demoed the printer tho we're hoping to jump on the bandwagon. It seemed like anything that fit in a syringe was fair game and that teachers constantly experimenting with the different liquids used (by chemical make-up & by viscosity) 

Photo of Lesli Brown
Team

What an interesting idea!

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Lesli, 
Yes, I hadn't really thought about it until last week when I saw one in action (printing using lotion--craziness) and thought about all the different directions teacher and students could take it (or at least be inspired by it).

Photo of Lesli Brown
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Jessica,
I definitely would love to see pictures of how this idea evolves. I've seen 3D printing ideas and pictures in classrooms online but haven't seen it with food! So you observed this one with lotion? What was their challenge or what were they trying to accomplish? That is so fascinating!! 

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

Have you seen this link, looks like something up your alley.

https://farmbot.io

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Trever Reeh --that's awesome! Thanks for sharing.