New milestone reached by Techinnova’s ReP3D laboratory within the MMM project.

Our researchers, perennially searching for innovative solutions in the printing of flexible three-dimensional objects for healthcare use, have obtained a semi-flexible heart by means of a calibrated mixture of transparent elastic resin and organic materials derived from eco-circulation processes. Techinnova’s patented technological know-how – together with its project partners – on the preparation and use of resin mixtures for SLA and DLP 3D printers was applied in this activity.

It took 32 hours to make the semi-flexible 3D heart model, a number that required the team to implement a remote monitoring system that would allow it to be controlled via an app on a smartphone.

The large amount of time it took to obtain the model proved proportional to the extremely high printing precision in which the heart was made: an accuracy of 50µm (microns) was achieved. This printing precision meant, in concrete terms, a large number of resin ‘layers’ which, superimposed one on top of the other, allowed the realisation of a semi-flexible heart that was extremely precise in its details: more layers therefore ensured greater flexibility and verisimilitude of the model.

The three-dimensional reproduction of an object with articulated shapes, such as a complex vascularised heart model, has always been a major challenge for the ReP3D laboratory, all the more so since the future goal was to print a totally flexible heart that could simulate the pumping of blood in a real heart, a horizon that is still a long way off.

However, considering the growing demand for 3D anatomical models and their important medical applications, Techinnova worked assiduously in this direction, achieving an important milestone within the MMM project.

Below is an image of the first semi-flexible 3D heart printed by Techinnova’s laboratory.

Here are some links regarding the SoA of 3D-printed flexible heart models. These high-tech experiments clearly demonstrate the complexity of the work involved and the significance of Techinnova’s results.