3D printer creates sensors on hand to detect chemicals, charge devices



Researchers have developed a new use for low-cost 3D printers: sensors on a hand to detect chemical or biological agents, as well as a way to charge electronic devices with solar cells. Besides being used to print wearable devices, 3D printing technology has potentially life-saving applications. Among other uses, soldiers on the battlefield could print temporary sensors on their bodies and doctors could print cells to help those with skin diseases, researchers say. The research by the University of Minnesota was published Wednesday in the journal Advanced Materials.

"I'm fascinated by the idea of printing electronics or cells directly on the skin," Dr. Michael McAlpine, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Minnesota, said in a press release. "It is such a simple idea and has unlimited potential for important applications in the future." To print on a person's hand, the skin is scanned and temporary markers are placed on the skin. Then, three layers of the sensor are printed.

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