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3D-printed bone replacements coming soon to an orthopedic surgeon near you, courtesy of WSU (video)

3D printers are slowly, but surely working their way into all sorts of useful, everyday applications -- like the creation of chocolates, flutes and even Mario Kart turtle shell racers. Now, Washington State University engineers are unveiling a unique implementation of the tech that could aid in the regrowth of damaged or diseased bones. Utilizing a ceramic compound, the group's optimized ProMetal 3D printer builds dissolvable scaffolds coated with a plastic binding agent that serve as a blueprint for tissue growth. The team's already logged four long years fine tuning the process, having already achieved positive results testing on rats and rabbits, but it appears there's still a ways to go -- about 10 -12 years, according to the project's co-author Susmita Bose -- before orthopedic and dental surgeons can begin offering "printed" bone replacements. With a synthetic windpipe already under medical science's belt and now this, it's looking like we're just a few short decades away from that long sought after full body replacement. Right, Mr. Lagerfeld? Click on past the break for a brief look at this osteo-friendly machinery.