Just recently we saw a 3D printer that prints chocolate, now researchers at the University of Glasgow have used a 3D printer to create something that they call ‘reactionware’.
‘Reactionware’ is a term coined for vessels created with a 3D printer that, through the introduction of certain chemicals in the build process, take part in chemical reactions. This method of including a vessel in a reaction process has been relatively common on a much larger scale but is a first for laboratory-sized equipment.
Professor Lee Cronin said, “By making the vessel itself part of the reaction process, the distinction between the reactor and the reaction becomes very hazy. It’s a new way for chemists to think, and it gives us very specific control over reactions because we can continually refine the design of our vessels as required.”
The technology is still in its early stages but could one day improve access to health care in developing countries and even function as a personal pharmacy, says Cronin.
“We could even see 3D printers reach into homes and become fabricators of domestic items, including medications. Perhaps with the introduction of carefully-controlled software ‘apps’, similar to the ones available from Apple, we could see consumers have access to a personal drug designer they could use at home to create the medication they need.”