A 2014 paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed a new way to print live cells.
The new method can print cells into any arbitrary shape and spaced close together or far apart.
The team took inspiration for the idea from kids' rubber stamps, which are very similar to the ancient wooden blocks used to print Chinese characters.
Unlike past methods that use inkjet printing, almost all the cells printed with this technique survive the printing process.
Here, cells printed into an array glow green.
Multiple cell types
The new method can be used with multiple cell types
Gallery of shapes
Here, the cells are printed into multiple shapes
The method could be used to more accurately capture communication between neurons, or brain cells.
Tia Ghose, Senior Writer
Tia has interned at Science News, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.