Atlas, 3D printing worth talking about! From plastic guns to cell phone cases and 3D figures of your absurdly unattractive family; you can now print yourself a new ear! Not New Year, – new EAR! (Although printing a new year would be pretty rad).

Researchers at the Integrated Tissue-Organ Printer (ITOP), can build biocompatible tissues for use in transplants, including muscle, cartilage, bone and an entire human ear.

Unfortunately, if you lose an ear today you’re SOL; as the technology hasn’t been tested on humans and well, the research team isn’t finished. But the good news is, researchers have found that the first step to making successful, lasting tissues is to create a “bio-ink” made with cell-laden hydrogels.

Tissues or cells will not survive in volumes larger than 1-.2 mm, because cells need to be close enough to blood-carrying capillaries to get the nutrition necessary to survive through diffusion. To over come nature’s obstacles, a micro channel has been created with the printing technology that allows the nutrients to flow through.

Though bioprinting can offer great benefits in medicine, it also raises a number of ethical questions as the technology develops. Meanwhile, I’m here confused as to how many people actually lose an ear a year? I’m pretty sure the probability is very low unless you’re on an acid trip or in a barber fight; but in any case, the comfort in knowing that scientist are working hard for an aesthetically pleasing face brings peace of mind that one day, somewhere, somehow, if I ever lose and ear in a bar fight ITOP has me covered.