New Bionic Ear Can Even Pick Up Your Favorite Radio Station, Cornell University Study

For a while now, the combination of 3-D printing and electronics have allowed researchers to develop custom prosthetics for individuals afflicted with various disabilities. For example, it used to be that one of the treatments for microtia, the underdevelopment of the external ear, required either harvesting a piece of the patient’s rib or using a Styrofoam-like material to be constructed into the new external ear. Compared to 3-D printing, the prosthetics were not of high quality and the surgery seemed unnecessary to most. Children afflicted with microtia most commonly have a functioning inner ear but because of the underdevelopment of their outer ear, they still have hearing difficulties. Prosthetics, however, can improve their hearing and 3D printing can create custom plastic prosthetics for the patient that can fit right over the afflicted ear.

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