Inside the lab where scientists are 3D-printing a real working trachea (VIDEO)

3D printing has been used to make fast food, jewelry, electric guitars, and tiny versions of ourselves. But one area where it shows particular promise is medicine. Quartz visited a lab where a research team has figured out how to use a 3D printer that sells for $2,500 to make replacement body parts out of living cells.

Hidden away in a windowless section of the Feinstein Institute at North Shore-LIJ Hospital in Manhasset, New York, Todd Goldstein is working on replacing damaged sections of the trachea—the pipe of cartilage that connects the lungs to the throat. Goldstein, an investigator at Feinstein who is studying for a PhD in molecular medicine, is part of a research group working primarily in orthopedics, the treatment of bone and muscle problems.

Goldstein and his team are fixers. On the day Quartz visited, they were working on a project involving very small samples that were getting blown around by the room’s air-conditioning. The building’s administration had told them that they couldn’t make any changes to the air-conditioner vents. So they took binder clips and hung sheets from the ceiling to keep the airflow away from their work. … (read more)