The First-Ever 3D Printed Lung Comes to Life


A joint collaboration between bioengineers and designers gave birth to the first-ever 3D printed lung capable to transport air, blood, and other fluids.

To better gauge the importance of this breakthrough it’s worth taking a step back to understand where we stand as far as 3D printed organs.

3D printed organs are not a new thing. Although no artificial organ has been ever transplanted before, several labs have been experimenting and successfully printed organ structures that could be used for transplants.

Not all the organs in a human body, however, are the same, and some have more complex functions and structures than others.

Lungs are probably one of the most complex organs structures in our body.

A functioning lung is composed of intricate pathways of air ducts and blood vessels that interact with each other, and that’s what bioengineers were able to recreate.

The team, led by Jordan Miller, a bioengineer at Rice University, partnered with the design firm Nervous System to replicate such a delicate network of intertwining vessels.

Along with publishing the research in the journal Science, the scientists released a video showing a lung-like air sac which can feed nutrients and oxygen to nearby tissue:


Although we are still years away from being able to 3D print ready-for-transplant organs, this discovery brings us one step closer to that date when on-demand 3D printed organs will be a reality.


Categories: Biomedical