AM ResearchBioinksElectronicsWearables

Wearable biomaterial inks developed by researchers

A team of researchers at Texas A&M University has developed a new class of biomaterial inks that mimic native characteristics of highly conductive human tissue

Stay up to date with everything that is happening in the wonderful world of AM via our LinkedIn community.

A team of researchers at Texas A&M University has developed a new class of biomaterial inks that mimic native characteristics of highly conductive human tissue, much like skin, which are essential for the ink to be used in 3D printing. This biomaterial ink leverages a new class of 2D nanomaterials known as molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). The thin-layered structure of MoS2 contains defect centers to make it chemically active and, combined with modified gelatin to obtain a flexible hydrogel, is comparable to the structure of Jell-O.

“The impact of this work is far-reaching in 3D printing,” said Dr. Akhilesh Gaharwar, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Presidential Impact Fellow. “This newly designed hydrogel ink is highly biocompatible and electrically conductive, paving the way for the next generation of wearable and implantable bioelectronics.”

New wearable biomaterial inks, that mimic native characteristics of highly conductive human tissue, were developed by Texas A&M researchers.
Dr. Akhilesh Gaharwar and graduate student Kaivalya Deo designed a hydrogel ink that is highly biocompatible and electrically conductive. Source: Texas A&M Engineering

The ink has shear-thinning properties that decrease in viscosity as force increases, so it is solid inside the tube but flows more like a liquid when squeezed – similar to ketchup or toothpaste. The team incorporated these electrically conductive nanomaterials within a modified gelatin to make a hydrogel ink with characteristics that are essential for designing ink conducive to 3D printing.

“These 3D printed devices are extremely elastomeric and can be compressed, bent, or twisted without breaking,” said Kaivalya Deo, graduate student in the biomedical engineering department and lead author of the paper. “In addition, these devices are electronically active, enabling them to monitor dynamic human motion and paving the way for continuous motion monitoring.”

In order to 3D print the ink, researchers in the Gaharwar Laboratory designed a cost-effective, open-source, multi-head 3D bioprinter that is fully functional and customizable – running on open-source tools and freeware. This also allows any researcher to build 3D bioprinters tailored to fit their own research needs.

The electrically conductive 3D printed hydrogel ink can create complex 3D circuits and is not limited to planar designs – allowing researchers to make wearable and customizable bioelectronics tailored to patient-specific requirements.

In utilizing these 3D printers, Kaivalya Deo was able to print electrically active and stretchable electronic devices. These devices demonstrate extraordinary strain-sensing capabilities and can be used for engineering customizable monitoring systems. This also opens up new possibilities for designing stretchable sensors with integrated microelectronic components.

One of the potential applications of the new ink is in 3D printing electronic tattoos for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Researchers envision that this printed e-tattoo can monitor a patient’s movement, including tremors.

This project is in collaboration with Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie, vice president of academic affairs and workforce development at Tri-County Technical College in South Carolina, and Dr. Limei Tian, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Texas A&M.

This study was funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the Texas A&M University President’s Excellence Fund, and was recently published in published in ACS Nano. A provisional patent on this technology has been filed in association with the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.

Research 2022
Polymer AM Market Opportunities and Trends

741 unique polymer AM companies individually surveyed and studied. Core polymer AM market generated $4.6 billion...

Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

Related Articles

Back to top button

We use cookies to give you the best online experience and for ads personalisation. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • PHPSESSID
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services

STAY AHEAD

OF THE CURVE

Join industry leaders and receive the latest insights on what really matters in AM!

This information will never be shared with 3rd parties

I’ve read and accept the privacy policy.*

WELCOME ON BOARD!