Australian researchers have used a handheld 3D printing pen to "draw" human stem cells in freeform patterns. The instrument delivers a cell survival rate in excess of 97%.


The team fabricated the "BioPen" using 3D-printed medical grade plastic and titanium. A low-powered light source, fixed to the device, solidifies the hydrogel bio-ink carrying and supporting the stem cells. The handheld, sterilizable BioPen allows surgeons to fill implant defects with bespoke scaffolds.

The technology development was a collaboration between ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) researchers and orthopedic surgeons at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne.