3D: from Implants to Electronics

Several new 3D printers showcased at CES 2015 in Las Vegas earlier this month suggest that the 3D printing industry — best known for churning out brightly colored plastic doodads — could be turning over a new, more scientific leaf.


Amid the rough-edged replicas of superheroes and army tanks that adorned the expo’s 3D printing space stood a machine that prints tiny medical implants that dissolve inside the human body. Another printer uses a combination of conductive inks and filaments to print quadcopters already embedded with the electronics that allow them to hover in the air. One company displayed a prototype of a 3D-printed medical device that can automatically stitch up patients after surgery.