Bioprinting is one of the most widespread technologies in the medical industry. It’s being used for everything from attempts to grow living tissue to creating natural bone replacement for patients.
A startup based in Ireland, Ourobotics, has just released their second 3D printer – a completely open source design that can give you a fully functional bioprinter for under $900. Compare the various 3D printers on the market and you’ll understand why that’s such a huge breakthrough.
A Look at the New Bioprinter
Ourobotics has already dipped their collective toe into bioprinting, but this printer marks something entirely new. The company’s first printer was modular and upgradeable, which marked a first for the industry.
They’re going for the gold with the new one, though.
The Renegade, as it’s called, is completely open source, and you can build it for less than what you’d spend on a high-end conventional desktop 3D printer. That means several things for researchers, medical teams and hospitals.
First, it means that creating a working bioprinter is cheaper than ever. It’s also simpler. Finally, repairs and parts replacements are easier and more affordable, as well.
“We’re calling it the Renegade because it’s different from the Revolution in that it will be open sourced. The Renegade is supposed to be disruptive, it’s supposed to see what people can do when they actually have access to building these machines,” explained the company’s cofounder, Dr. Stephen Gray.
There are both differences and similarities between the two bioprinters. First, the Renegade is just as upgradeable as the Revolution was, perhaps even more so thanks to its open source nature.
Second, it’s missing the multi-material functionality found with the Revolution, but that can be added if necessary. It’s also designed to be used for both education and actual research and clinical needs.
The ultimate result of this printer is that anyone purchasing it should be able to upgrade it, grow it and evolve the printer into something that fits their unique needs perfectly. It’s the complete opposite of a static system that’s set in a single configuration out of the box.
“The way I see it is that you could bring the Renegade to universities, schools, you could have high school students or undergraduate students learning how to do bioprinting, or how t build their own printers,” Gray explained.
“People see them as these really expensive pieces of machinery, but I say, to be honest, that the Ourobotics bioprinter is quite affordable, but even a lower level than that, if you just want to teach people how to do it, you can open source a basic bioprinter and teach them the essentials t get started.”
This is just the first step forward in the company’s plan to revolutionize the bioprinting industry and by extension, the larger 3D printing industry. The open source design and commitment to the lowest pricing possible is more than refreshing.