It may sound like science fiction, but new research is studying how 3D printing (or bioprinting) organs and tissues may one day save lives.
With funding from NIH, scientists at Rice University are testing bioprinted vascular networks that mimic those in the distal human lungs. These networks are made of soft gels and have been tested with living cells.
You can see the vascularized air sacs up close in a new video released by the team earlier this year.
Though research is still in the early stages, 3D printing may one day allow doctors to create replacement organs for patients who need transplants.