The handheld skin printer resembles a white-out tape dispenser – except the tape roll is replaced by a microdevice that forms tissue sheets. Vertical stripes of "bio ink," made up of protein-based biomaterials including collagen, the most abundant protein in the dermis, and fibrin, a protein involved in wound healing, run along the inside of each tissue sheet.
"Our skin printer promises to tailor tissues to specific patients and wound characteristics," says Hakimi. "And it's very portable."
The handheld device is the size of a small shoe box and weighs less than a kilogram. It also requires minimal operator training and eliminates the washing and incubation stages required by many conventional bioprinters.
This handheld skin printer reminds me of this item from the movie Starship Troopers, which is loosely based on the Robert Heinlein novel of the same name.
(Starship Troopers medical tank)
In Frank Herbert's 1977 novel The Dosadi Experiment, BuSab agent Jorx X. McKie routinely packed some uniflesh, with attached mediskin, for purposes of creating a disguise.
In his 1960 novel Dr. Futurity, Philip K. Dick wrote about art-derm, which was spray-on skin that could be directly applied to wounds.
Over her lacerated right shoulder he sprayed art-derm; it sealed off the open wound, halted bleeding, and prohibited infection.
(Read more about art-derm)