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Three-dimensional (3-D) printing is the creation of a 3-D object from a digital model through the successive layering of material, a process known as additive manufacturing. The first 3-D printer was developed in 1984 by Charles W. Hull, but only since the beginning of this decade has the technology become widely available for a multitude of applications in engineering, industrial design, biotechnology, and medicine. In a process known as 3-D “bioprinting,” researchers have refashioned ink jet printers to layer living cells into a scaffolding medium, constructing blood vessels, tissue, and entire organs.
Algzlan H, Varada S. Three-Dimensional Printing of the Skin. JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(2):207. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.1198