London’s Science Museum an exhibition is showcasing the exciting future of 3D printing. Excitement about 3D printing has been building for several years now – and many scientists and engineers have been quick to herald the technology as the future of manufacturing and now medicine.

But what’s particularly eye-catching is the part of the exhibition that looks at the future use of 3D printing in medicine and science. 

3D printing expert John Fidler said: "At the moment [at the Science Museum, London] you can see a variety of different objects in different colours and here on display we have examples of the different applications of 3D printing.

There are examples from the medical world, right through to product design, architecture and the world of art.

“These machines can be very specific. Your entry-level one that range about £1,200 to buy and they are cheap and affordable for the everyday object.

“In future there will be stem cells used, alongside a kind of glue with the 3D printers. These are examples of how those stem cells would come together. The printer will produce a nose, layer-by-layer, laying out the stem cells in the correct areas and laying out the glue and gradually you will be let with this object that looks like a nose that’s been produced from the patient’s actual stem cells that can then go on to be used as a replacement nose."

Louisville researcher Dr Stuart Williams, of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, says that, in the future, scientists will create new, functioning human hearts using cells and a 3-D printer.

“We think we can do it in 10 years — that we can build, from a patient’s own cells, a total ‘bioficial’ heart,” he said.

John Fidler told VoR: “I think with the advances in technology, anything is possible. I think within the future [it will be possible]. There’s a lot with regard to the ethics of creating hearts and so forth and some hurdles that will have to be jumped in order to get there. It’s definitely feasible, but whether that will be within the next ten years, that has to be seen.”