You can now buy BioBots’ human tissue 3D printer for a mere $10K

biobots launches biobot 1 3d human tissue printer biobots1
Despite the growing number of organ donors in the United States, wait times for organ transplants tend to be absolute nightmares. Expected wait times for, say, a liver transplant typically hover around five years, with some states’ lists pushing transplant waits to nearly a decade. Understanding this for the massive problem it is, a Philadelphia-based startup named BioBots burst on the scene last spring armed with one incredibly revolutionary idea: develop and manufacture a 3D printer capable of printing real human tissue.

Not merely a pipe dream of a concept, BioBots physically demonstrated its plan at TechCrunch Display in New York last May by 3D printing a nearly exact replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous severed ear. After stunning the crowd in attendance that day, BioBots has since partnered with roughly 50 research facilities around the globe, according to an interview CEO Danny Cabrera gave Quartz. Not only has this partnership allowed for an incredible amount of research and development of the tech, but it’s allowed BioBots to officially launch its first, commercially available bioprinter, the BioBot 1. Basically, anyone who ponies up $10,000 in cash has the ability to buy their very own human tissue 3D printer. Where do we sign?

Though BioBots isn’t nearly the first company to attempt to create a 3D printer capable of producing human tissue, the key difference in its approach lies with the kind of bio-ink it utilizes. Essentially, this ink contains what’s called photoinitiator powder, which solidifies after its hit with a certain wavelength of blue light. This process allows the machine to print biomaterial without the need for UV light or pressure, which many biofabrication devices currently require. During the company’s recent research phase, Cabrera and his team made this unique bio-ink open-source, giving researchers in the field unfettered access to improve or develop new tech.

What makes the BioBot 1 particularly fascinating to the world of organ transplants is the fact BioBots outfitted the machine with two extruders. These extruders allow the machine to build complex structures (e.g., organ tissue, blood vessels, etc.) of which Cabrera believes could even be utilized for testing new drugs in the future. In addition to hoping the BioBot 1 shows up in labs across the world, he also thinks it could one day completely wipe out the organ transplant waiting list.

No matter how revolutionary BioBots’ human-tissue printer is, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to provide much information regarding its approval. Back in February, however, the FDA did tell Quartz it was currently considering the tech with a “significant scientific interest,” though an estimation on when it would issue an approval is still unknown. Though, regardless of the FDA’s approval or not, there’s no denying just how incredibly useful 3D-printing human tissue will inevitably prove to be.

Making BioBots’ innovative 3D printer available for public consumption is a massive step in the right direction toward seeing this tech begin to make a real difference. It’s literally just a matter of time before organ transplant candidates will not only receive relief sooner, but will have the ability to see their organs printed right before their very eyes.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop duster’ robot is helping reseed the Great Barrier Reef with coral

In a world first, an undersea robot has delivered microscopic coral larvae to the Great Barrier Reef. Meet Larvalbot: the robot "crop duster" which dispenses coral babies on troubled reefs.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.

Cities looking to get smart take a lesson from an iconic shopping mall

From Disney World to the Mall of America, public venues are becoming microcosms for smart city projects. We dove into both, to show what government officials can learn – and what you can expect from your city.