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This Open-Source Incubator Creates 'Homemade' Body Parts

Nov 30, 2016 08:55 AM EST

A new start-up appears to have made a CO2 incubator designed to help researchers, scientists, and "biohackers" to "cultivate" new body parts from scratch. This may seem stuff from science fiction, but it appears "homemade" body parts will soon be part of the norm. If successful, then houses can have "easy-bake" ovens that can bake body parts like cake and pastries.

Spiderwort will be offering an open-source incubator. The device will be out in 2017 and will probably cost around US$370.

Spiderwort appears to be developing open-source hardware and wetware platforms for biological research. According to Spiderwort, the CO2 incubator is its first product that aims to grow human and animal tissues.

Andrew Pelling, Spiderwort co-founder and a scientist at the University of Ottowa, was able to "grow" human ears from apple slices. Apparently, a solution removed all the apple's own cells and left a protein scaffolding. Pelling was able to "grow" living cells in its place.

The group is yet to actually do an implant to see if the ear functions as it is intended to do. However, he hopes that other scientists will be able to take inspiration from this success.

The incubator appears to be small and versatile. It's built on an Ardruino, a common building block for robots and engineering prototypes. This means customers can add their own functionality and customize the kits as they see fit.

According to Motherboard, the project proves that plant matter scaffolding can be a good substitute to petroleum, animal products, or surgical procedures. Implantable body parts normally go to the aforementioned materials before they are being done.

Now, the CO2 incubator will hopefully help scientists make "easy-to-bake" body parts for experimentation and research. This also allows research on biotechnology more accessible to others. He emphasized in his TED Talk that this gives people the ability to experiment with creating their own biological structures.

Pelling adds this can solve ethical conundrums related to biomaterials research and biomedical applications.

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