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MIT Research Team Develops 3D-Printed Tattoo That “Lives”

A new 3-dimensional printing method is developed by a team of engineers from the MIT University by genetically amending cells to make a “living tattoo.” This tattoo can act in response to a range of stimuli. In order to respond to several stimuli, the cells are manipulated to illuminate. When blended with nutrients and hydrogel slurry, the cells can be imprinted, layer by layer, to make 3D, interactive devices and structures.

MIT Research Team Develops 3D-Printed Tattoo That “Lives”

The researchers have exhibited its innovation by imprinting a living tattoo onto an individual’s skin. The living tattoos are a transparent, thin patch outlined with live bacteria cells in a tree’s shape. Each of the tree’s branches is coated with cells responsive to a diverse chemical compound. When this patch is reproduced onto the skin of an individual that has been rendered to the same compounds, parts of the tree illuminate in response.

To assess the patch, the team smeared a number of chemical compounds on top of the back of the hand of the test subject and then forced down the hydrogel patch over the uncovered skin. Over numerous hours, the tree’s branches illuminated when bacteria recognized their related chemical stimuli.

Professor Xuanhe Zhao from MIT, the United States, said, “We discovered this new ink method functions just fine and can imprint at a high resolution of around 30 µm per feature, scaling every line printed by us includes few cells only. Also, we can imprint comparatively huge structures, measure numerous centimeters.”

The method is published in the Advanced Materials journal. The team states their method can be utilized to produce “active” fabrics for interactive displays and wearable sensors. These substances can be utilized to identify environmental pollutants and chemicals along with changes in temperature and pH.

A model was developed by the team to recognize the communications between cells in a specified 3D-printed structure, in a range of conditions. The research team said that they can utilize the model as a directive in developing receptive living materials.

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