Scientists in Italy have discovered the first 3-d printed elephant ear drums, which are just a few microns long and can be easily used to create a large volume of air in the field.
The ear drum-shaped structure was made with a 3-dimensional printer, allowing the researchers to print an ear drum at a precise height and shape, according to The New York Times.
The team has also found that the structures can be printed in different shapes for different purposes.
In this image, a 3D-printer shows how to make a 3d-printed elephant ear.
Scientists in Italy discovered the ear drum, which is just a couple of microns tall, with the help of 3D printing technology.
The research was published in Nature Nanotechnology.
The team, led by Dr. Stefano Scaglione, has been working with a group of Italian students to design and create an ear device using 3D printers.
“In this paper, we show that this 3D printer is able to generate the structure of a 2D model and print the structure using laser cutting and milling, a process which requires an enormous amount of power,” Scaglsione said in a statement.
“This is a very novel technique for the fabrication of ear structures.
The results demonstrate a new way to create ear structures that are 3D printed in the laboratory.”
Scagliones team also discovered that the ear device can be used to make the ear drums larger.
The 3D model was 3.8 microns in length and 1.4 microns wide, so the researchers were able to print the ear structures out to a thickness of more than two microns, Scaglia told The Times.
“The printer is very efficient, and it can produce the structure in just two minutes, with a power consumption of about 10 kilowatts,” Scagnoli said.
The ear drum is about 2.5 inches tall, and is capable of producing more than 10 cubic centimeters of air at a height of about 1.2 meters.
The researchers plan to continue working with other researchers to build more ear drum structures.
“We’re working on the next step in this project: to develop the 3D ear drum as a product for clinical applications,” Scigliones said.
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