• University of Wollongong

Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts

Discover the recent developments regarding how biomaterials and 3D printing are colliding to create bioprinted body parts.

29,908 enrolled on this course

Mapped out image of the human structure
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Discover what 3D bioprinting can do now and in the future

You may be aware of 3D printing or have seen low-cost 3D printers that can create plastic toys, replicas and objects of your own design. But did you know that 3D printing is also enabling life-saving and transforming medical procedures, which were unthinkable a few years ago? The world of medicine and biomaterials has collided with advances in 3D printing, creating a new clinical paradigm in biomedicine: 3D bioprinting. This online course tells the story of this revolution, introducing you to commonly used biomaterials and bioprinting techniques.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 20 seconds What is 3D bioprinting? Can we really print artificial organs, bone, and tissue in the lab? What are the limitations of this technology? Revolutionary advances in 3D printing, along with the development of amazing biomaterials, can be seamlessly integrated into the body, have opened a world of exciting possibilities. We are not far away from the time when every major hospital will have a 3D printing facility.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds This course tells the story of this revolution. The University of Wollongong is a leading university renowned for its innovative research. In this free online course, you will get a unique snapshot of the technological applications of 3D printing used within a medical context, including that of human organ replacement. We introduce a range of biomaterials that can be incorporated into medical devices through these and 3D printing. We will illustrate the impact that 3D printing already has on our ability to create customised medical devices, including the 3D printing of personalised titanium implants using selective laser melting, creation of customised maxillofacial implants, and the promise for lab-grown organs structured through the inkjet printing of living cells.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds This is an area at the innovative forefront of medical advancement with applications spanning into public health and well-being subject areas.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 seconds Join us on a journey of discovery where science fiction is becoming a reality, and find out what is possible right now, and what is possible in the future.

What topics will you cover?

  • The multidisciplinary nature of clinical 3D bioprinting
  • The advantages and limitations of 3D modelling software for bioprinting
  • The 3D printing process (the problem, design, material selection and object fabrication)
  • Case studies of biomaterials enhancing lives (e.g. Robohand, Titanium heel, glaucoma implants)
  • The nature and variation of materials for prosthetics and structural supports used in 3D bioprinting
  • The difference between an implant and a prosthetic
  • Innovative bioactive research (e.g. cartilage, biopens, skin regeneration)
  • The ethical and regulatory issues involved in new medical treatments and the future of 3D bioprinting
  • Communicating with the community on matters of new medical systems

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain the significance of 3D bioprinting to medical applications
  • Debate the possible changes and implications that 3D bioprinting will have in the area of healthcare into the future
  • Compare and evaluate the application and impact of various multidisciplinary approaches and methods for addressing existing medical problems using 3D bioprinting
  • Identify, describe and compare the appropriate materials and printing methods for specific 3D structures – wearable structures to implants
  • Discuss the process of designing 3D structures from determining the problem to fabrication
  • Report on how 3D bioprinting raises many ethical and regulatory issues
  • Reflect on the impact 3D bioprinting will have on how we treat people in the future and what current challenges will be overcome
  • Explore and discuss topical and innovative bioactive research

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for a general audience. No previous knowledge of 3D printing or biomedicine is required.

Who will you learn with?

Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science at the University of Wollongong, Gordon is a leader in materials science research and is renowned for his work in biofabrication

Who developed the course?

University of Wollongong

The University of Wollongong is among the world’s top 20 modern universities. It routinely rates among the top Australian universities for graduate satisfaction and starting salaries.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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