3D printed deformable sensors

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Science Advances  17 Jun 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 25, eaba5575
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba5575


The ability to directly print compliant biomedical devices on live human organs could benefit patient monitoring and wound treatment, which requires the 3D printer to adapt to the various deformations of the biological surface. We developed an in situ 3D printing system that estimates the motion and deformation of the target surface to adapt the toolpath in real time. With this printing system, a hydrogel-based sensor was printed on a porcine lung under respiration-induced deformation. The sensor was compliant to the tissue surface and provided continuous spatial mapping of deformation via electrical impedance tomography. This adaptive 3D printing approach may enhance robot-assisted medical treatments with additive manufacturing capabilities, enabling autonomous and direct printing of wearable electronics and biological materials on and inside the human body.

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