Bionic Ear 3D Printed

A group of Princeton scientists have created a bionic ear printed with 3D printer technology. The ear is made from bovine cells mixed with a liquid gel to make it a living, biological material. In addition, tiny particles of silver are added to create a coiled antenna capable of detecting radio waves that a normal ear can’t.


(Bionic ears via 3D printer)

The finished ear consists of a coiled antenna inside a cartilage structure. Two wires lead from the base of the ear and wind around a helical "cochlea" — the part of the ear that senses sound — which can connect to electrodes. Although [Michael McAlpine, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton] cautions that further work and extensive testing would need to be done before the technology could be used on a patient, he said the ear in principle could be used to restore or enhance human hearing. He said electrical signals produced by the ear could be connected to a patient's nerve endings, similar to a hearing aid. The current system receives radio waves, but he said the research team plans to incorporate other materials, such as pressure-sensitive electronic sensors, to enable the ear to register acoustic sounds.

Fans of the 1974-78 series The Six Million Dollar Man of course recall the bionic ear that amplified sounds, which was part of the feature set of Jamie Sommers, The Bionic Woman (spun off 1976-78). Note in the pictures shown below the amazing special effects work used in creating the amazing bionic ear.


(Jamie Sommers uses bionic hearing)

From Princeton via MedGadget.

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