Nanotechnology engineers have 3D printed an ear from calf cells and silver nanoparticles that picks up radio signals at frequencies beyond human capacity. The creation is part of their greater plan to one day build spare parts for humans cyborgs to don.
Rather than simply adding electronics to an ear, the team from Princeton decided to try and integrate the two from the start. They 3D printed hydrogel — a polymer-based gel often used as scaffolding in tissue engineering — with calf cells, and weaved in silver nanoparticles to create an in-built antenna coil that replaces the cochlea. The calf cells matured to become cartilage and the electronics were then encased in a highly supportive ear that mirrors the complex build of the real thing.
The beginning of something wonderful.