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The New Jersey Life Sciences Vendors Alliance (NJLSVA) is a coalition of businesses, individuals and academia who provide goods and services to New Jersey’s life sciences companies.

The NJLSVA was founded to educate suppliers on trends in industry procurement and public policy that affects the life sciences industry.

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Princeton Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Create ‘Bionic Ear’

Princeton, NJ, July 5, 2013 — The Associated Press reports that, with a 3-D printer, a petri dish and some cells from a cow, Princeton University researchers are growing synthetic ears that can receive — and transmit — sound.

The scientists send bovine cells mixed in a liquid gel through the printer, followed by tiny particles of silver.  The printer is programmed to shape the material into a “bionic ear,” and forms the silver particles into a coiled antenna.  Like any antenna, this one can pick up radio signals that the ear will interpret as sound.

The 3-D ear is not designed to replace a human one, though; the research is meant to explore a new method of combining electronics with biological material.

After it’s printed, the 3-D ear is soft and translucent.  It is cultivated for 10 weeks, letting the cells multiply, creating a flesh color and forming hardened tissue around the antenna.

The AP reports that although the new research is just one iteration in the field of cybernetics — an area that looks at combining biology with technology — the research could lead to synthetic replacements for actual human functions, and to a sort of electronic sixth sense.

To read the entire AP story, click here.