Home Research & Education 3D Printing to Improve Implantable Biomedical Devices

3D Printing to Improve Implantable Biomedical Devices

Scientists from McGill University are exploring a new technique that uses 3D printing and hydrogels. It has the potential not only to improve biomedical implants, but could also be useful in developing human-machine interfaces such as touch screens and neural implants.

Biomedical devices such as pacemakers or blood pressure sensors that are implanted in the human body must be made to conform and adhere to the body – and then dissolve at the right time.

Using 3D printing and hydrogel technology, researchers at McGill University’s Faculty of Engineering are well on their way to developing devices that conform to the human body better than the electronic devices currently in use. The researchers say this new technology, called soft ionotronics, has the potential to be used to improve wearable and implantable biomedical devices. For example, patients undergoing neuromuscular rehabilitation could benefit from soft and stretchable strain and pressure sensors that can be taped to their joints.

“Compared to traditional manual fabrication methods, 3D printed ionic junctions can have much better shape fidelity and smaller sizes. Shape fidelity is important for any device to function in the way it is designed. The smaller size means more ionic junctions can be included in one single device of limited size,” said Ran Huo, lead author on the study and PhD candidate in McGill’s Department of Engineering.

Find out more about the McGill University at mcgill.ca.

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