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Sensing & Measurement

Michael McAlpine: Tissue and electronics 3D-printed in "bionic ear"

Additive manufacturing opens new possibilities for the integration of electronics with biological tissue.

6 June 2013, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201306.01

Using 3-D printing tools, scientists at Princeton University have created a functional ear that can "hear" radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capability.

The researchers' primary purpose was to explore an efficient and versatile method of merging electronics with tissue. The scientists used 3-D printing of cells and nanoparticles followed by cell culture to combine a small coil antenna with cartilage, creating what they term a bionic ear.

Michael McAlpine is the lead researcher on the project. He is an assistant professor  of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton. He received a B.S. in Chemistry with honors from Brown University in 2000 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 2006. His research has focused on nanotechnology-enabled approaches to biointerfacing materials, for fundamental and applied investigations in the biological and energy sciences. McAlpine has received numerous awards, including the TR35 Young Innovator Award, an Air Force Young Investigator Award, an Intelligence Community Young Investigator Award, a DARPA Young Faculty Award, and a DuPont Young Investigator Award.