You can take the Maker out of Minnesota, but Minnesota will still come calling! Iowa State University hosted a lecture from Professor McAlpine of the University of Minnesota. McAlpine, a chemist by training, works at the Mechanical Engineering department, and develops 3D printers that are capable of the low-temperature work needed to work with biocompatible polymers and substrates.
Seeking to bridge the gulf between brittle, 2D circuitry and squishy, 3D tissues, his lab has created three-dimensional circuits filled with LEDs, printed 3D ears with integrated receiver coils, laser-activated microreactors, and perhaps coolest of all, 3D-printed silicone nerve conduits. They don’t take the place of actual nerves, but load them up with neuron growth hormones and the body’s regenerative abilities do the rest!