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BioBot: a Desktop 3D Printer for Living Tissue
Biobots, a Philadelphia based startup has developed a desktop 3D printer for printing biomaterials. The 3D printer called BioBot 1 was demoed at TechCrunch Disrupt NY in May 2015. Biobots was found the most innovative startup out of 48 startups at the SXSW Accelerator in Austin.
Biobot 1 uses a compressed air pneumatic system that allows it to precisely control the printing operation . Biobots has developed biomaterial that is placed in the syringe along with cells for printing. The biomaterial hardens as it is extruded. Biobot 1 uses visible blue light to cure the biomaterial. Unlike UV light, visible blue light is not harmful to living tissue. The technology can be used to 3D print living tissue such as cartilage, bone, or liver. The technology can find valuable applications in clinical development of drug.
Biobots aims at bringing down the cost of bioprinting significantly. Typical bioprinters cost in the range of hundred thousand dollars. Biobots managed to bring down the cost by an order of magnitude. Biobot 1 is also designed for ease of use. According to Danny Cabrera, cofounder of Biobots, “As soon as you get a BioBot, you can print something. What we’re doing is we’re saying anybody can do this. [It’s] this MakerBot of biology idea.”