Sure, 3D printing is becoming pretty huge (we’re making mansions and museums out of the stuff) and we’re already seeing 3D prosthetics flood the headlines, but there’s a whole new way we might be able to start looking at the prospects of 3D printing, and I mean that quite literally.
I’m talking about 3D printing eyeballs. That’s right, you heard me correctly, I said eyeballs. Design studio MHOX is looking for a way to 3D print eyeballs to improve or restore sight, and they’ve already come up with a conceptual design for the project.
The company is known for its work in physiological science; its mission statement is to
“Develop body extensions, objects or systems that integrate the human body to mutate its aesthetic and functional potential.”
In other words, they’re trying to build the ultimate X-men, and they’re calling it
While the concept for EYE hasn’t figured out a way to actually grant eyesight to the blind, it is meant to restore eyesight to those who lost it, either from a disease or other traumas to the eye. And it wouldn’t just restore it, it would make patient’s eyesight better than any human in history. It’s kind of like the bionic woman, only it’s a bionic eye. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
And it’ll come in a variety of options to choose from, too, so you don’t have to settle for just any old 3D printed pupil. EYE Heal, EYE Enhance, and EYE Advance are the three different models MHOX are working on. Let’s check ‘em out, shall we?
EYE Heal- The first model in the series does exactly what it says, it heals damaged eyesight. EYE Heal replaces standard eye functionality and provides cures to different sight diseases and traumas. The truest bionic eye we could ask for.
EYE Enhance: The second series model is some pure sci-fi pulp fiction come to life, because it doesn’t just apply to damaged eyesight- anyone can undergo EYE Enhance surgery. It’s meant to sharpen eyesight up to 15/10 and comes with a visual gland that allows people to actually filter incoming visual signals; meaning you can see in black and white, vintage, sepia, etc. by swallowing “EYE Connection Pills” that activate the visual gland built into the eyeball. Creepy? Yes. Cool? Hell yes.
EYE Advance: The last and final model in the EYE series is hands down the creepiest and most sci-fi version of them all. EYE Advance allows the 3D eyeball to record and share everything the user sees through Wi-Fi communication supported by a visual gland inside the model. Again, through the use of accompanying EYE pills that activate the Wi-Fi connectivity, it would be physically possible to connect EYE Advance as though it were an external camera to several devices.
So how do you get one of these suped up eyeballs? Nothing that a little surgery couldn’t fix. Installing any of the EYE augmentations requires undergoing surgery, at first, to implement what MHOX calls the “Deck,” or the device that connects the eye to your brain.
Once that messy business is out of the way, you’re free to swap eyeballs like trading cards. Augmented eyes can “easily” be interchanged by the user with no additional need for surgery because apparently changing eyeballs is so easy, a kid could do it! And, every model is eligible for upgrades, so maybe someday in the future families will be fighting over eyeball upgrades instead of cell phone upgrades.
And for the health conscious at heart- don’t sweat it. MHOX got all your basis covered. All EYE models are completely organic (as if wearing a 3D printed eyeball wasn’t unnatural enough). EYE models are made using a special 3D printer that uses a special needle to drop different kinds of cells needed to recreate the different tissues of the EYE.
MHOX describes these cells as being “contained in a special substance called bio-ink[.]… The printer can switch between different bio-inks to recreate differentiation of tissues. Once the cells are dropped they automatically gather together. Thus, EYEs are completely organic.”
Whether you get the science behind EYE or not, you have to admit, it all sounds pretty damn cool. And whether you’re prepared for a real life Minority Report or not (Tom Cruise reference for those of you who don’t follow sci-tech culture as though it were a religion), we can expect EYE to actually be available on the market by 2027. That’s only 12 years. Take a moment to let that sink in. (Thus the real demise of Google Glass is revealed).
Credit: Story via http://zbrella.com/a-vision-of-the-future-3d-printed-eyeballs/
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