Yes, you’ve read it right! Though still some time away, scientists are claiming that using the revolutionary 3D printers, they can print trees and other organic material soon! Stanford University scientist Lynn Rothschild and her student researcher Diana Gentry are working with $100,000 they received last year from the space agency’s Innovative Advanced Concept Program. Their aim is to 3D-print wood in space! By using a very fine basic material of organisms like silk, wool or wood; putting them in a kind of gelling solution combined with some sort of chemical signalling, they are sure to achieve the task, whether on earth or in space. This is nothing but a sort of manipulating cells into behaving the way we want, said a scientist.
“If you looked at a piece of plastic, by in large, a small piece of it is just like a large piece of it; this is not true of most biomaterials,” Gentry said. “They have very interesting properties and structures on a micro or sometime molecular scale that stack and create these sort of emergent macro-scale properties. So they behave differently in different directions. We are trying to show that we can manufacture these materials so that those really fine-grained properties work for us.”
There are other companies already involved in this kind of work, organizations like ‘Organova’, ‘Modern Meadows’, a Cornell University team and another one called ‘AutoDesk Inc.’ are all trying out different ways to print organic and semi organic material.