SNN3125CC-620_1774505aAN artificial ear has been developed by scientists using a 3D printer and cells from a sheep.  It could offer hope to thousands of kids born every year with impaired hearing due to malformed outer ears and those who lose theirs in accidents.  US researchers first built a mould for the ear using collagen from cows and cartilage cells from sheep.

The cells were then implanted under the skin of lab rats and a wire frame was used to make them grow in the correct shape.

After three months the ears — the size of a grown adult’s — were covered with a skin layer. The resulting model was then reproduced in silicone using a 3D printer at Massachusetts General Hospital. The researchers said: “The technology is now under development for clinical trials.”

If the technology is developed successfully, it should lead to realistic-looking ears without long delays.