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A company known as Organovo has created a 3D printer that it claims can eliminate the need to grow human tissue in vitro (tissues grown in labs in containers such as petri dishes). And the technology is now available to researchers who would like to make trial runs of chemicals and drugs.

The exVive3D, as the printer is known, can print out human liver tissue. The machine's purpose it to provide human-specific data to help in assessing and predicting liver tissue toxicity or ADME results in preclinical drug discovery efforts that are in the later stages.

The liver models created by the exVive3D are created by using proprietary technology that makes functional living tissues that contain exact and reproducible architecture, the company said in a press release. The company went on to say, "The tissues are functional and stable for at least 42 days, which enables assessment of drug effects over study durations that well beyond those offered by industry-standard 2D liver cell culture systems."

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And most anyone else who walks through the doors of select UPS Stores. The shipper announced on July 31 that it would be the first U.S. nationwide retailer to try out the new technology in-store, beginning with stores in the San Diego region. Rollouts to other U.S. stores are expected sometime in the near future.

Results of a poll the company recently conducted among small business owners indicated that there was significant interest in giving the services a try, especially among those wishing to create artistic renderings, manufacturing models or sales-related paraphernalia.

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At the rate that 3D printing technologies are progressing, the next new thing might just be home-generated atoms and molecules.

The latest? A group of scientists from the University of Illinois and Harvard have come up with a 3D printer than can churn out Li-ION microbatteries -- stacks of electrodes that are smaller in width than a human hair. And which, despite their size, can be used to power various microdevices. Like, say, medical gizmos implanted in a human body. Or insect-like robots.

The group has published an online article, 3D Printing of Interdigitated Li-Ion Microbattery Architectures, in Advanced Materials, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

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