New research prints blood vessels from inkjet printer

Pop quiz: how are MP3s related to blood vessels in the human body?

Pop quiz: how are MP3s related to blood vessels in the human body?

Obviously, a good tune (like the classic "Tom Sawyer" by Rush) will get your blood pumping, but that's not the answer this time. Hint: the answer is more six degrees of Kevin Bacon than you might expect.

No, the answer is a German research network known as the Fraunhofer Institute. Back in the early 1990s, Karlheinz Brandenburg started working on the music compression algorithms while he was at the Fraunhofer Institute.

Today, modern-day warriors, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute, are working on a new technology: blood vessels created with specialized inkjet printers.

The potential for this technology is quite amazing. If doctors can "print" blood vessels, then they can direct the river of blood to locations that need blood. This is particularly valuable in transplants and may help save lives.

Doctors fill the printing device with an organic ink that serves as the basis for the blood transport structure. The printer then sprays out a mist of the organic ink, a plate catches the mist, and artificial blood vessels are formed.

The video below describes the process in more detail. If that doesn't give you a rush, I don't know what will!