While printed parts for humans so far have used plastic, metal and other inorganic materials, researchers in California and elsewhere also have begun printing living tissue, with the goal of eventually employing ‘bioprinters’ to make customized kidneys, livers and other organs for people needing transplants.Tsuyoshi Takado, professor of the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine, displays an artificial ear, made of polyactic acid and designed by a 3D printer at his laboratory in Tokyo on January 16, 2015. Takato said his team had been working to create “a next-generation bio 3D printer”, which would build up thin layers of biomaterials to form custom-made parts. His team combines stem cells — the proto-cells that are able to develop into any body part — and proteins that trigger growth, as well as synthetic substance similar to human collagen.