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How far is the 3D printing humanoid robot from us?


According to foreign media reports, how far are we from a 3D printing humanoid robot like that in Westworld? Experts pointed out that we are still far from building AI of that advanced level, but we are making great progress in 3D printing organic materials.In the future, we will be able to print almost any human organ for transplantation, which will obviously improve the lives of a large number of people who need new organs.

How far is it from Western World?

Every step forward in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), we seem unable to help asking: "Will this step bring us closer to the Western World?"

Since its launch last year, HBO's popular sci-fi TV series have become the mainstream benchmark of AI system. In the sci-fi world of the TV series, robots can think and operate like humans, and the naked eye can hardly distinguish them from humans. It makes people think: what possibilities can be brought about by such rapid technological progress? However, it also makes us more aware that we are still far away from creating the advanced AI like the Western World.

We know that the receptionists in Western World are extremely advanced AI, and may have some kind of deep learning mechanism to enable them to quickly respond to the surrounding environment. Their mechanical skeleton system is very fine, so they actually have facial expressions like humans, and can move smoothly like humans. The receptionist's body seems to be 3D printed with organic materials, although the play does not explicitly mention this. Although we may not be able to make our own Dolores in the short term, we already have organic materials for 3D printing.

At the Wake Forest Regenerative Medicine Institute in North Carolina, Dr. Anthony Atala has been using his Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System (ITOP) to print cells, bones and even organs. ITOP uses human cells to print and create organs cultured in the laboratory. Such organs may soon be transplanted into the human body through surgery without any risk of rejection. "We cut a small part of the patient's tissue, and then began to expand those cells outside the human body. We used those cells to create new tissues and organs, and then we can transplant them into the human body." Atala explained in an interview.

Organ printing transplantation

It's exciting to think that this technology can be used to build artificial systems for machines, but the possibility of printing out the whole body of the supporting operating system is still far away. For example, printing skin is one aspect, but it is another challenge to enable skin to function normally on metal composite structures or bones. You will need a network of complex, operational internal systems to make this happen.

3D printed organs may be more suitable for organisms with various life mechanisms. According to Atala, using the ITOP system, they have successfully printed bones, muscles and cartilage and transplanted them into mice. After several months of observation, they found that the transplanted tissues formed blood vessels and nervous systems. This breakthrough in their research will enable them to conduct human experiments: try to achieve the same results in humans. However, considering that they need to obtain the approval of the government regulatory authorities, this kind of test may not be able to start until a long time later.

However, Atala is particularly optimistic about the future of this area. He pointed out that although we may not be able to create the "Western World" level AI in the short term, "with the development of science and technology, I think almost any organ of the human body will become printable in the coming decades." If you find it hard to wait for the release of the next season of World of the West, imagine how the lives of thousands of patients waiting for organ donation will change and how excited they are about these new breakthroughs in 3D printing technology.

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