Do It Yourself Pet

sijme
October 30th 2009

Image: A. Sidorov

Have you ever fantasized about creatures which carry the biggest smile? Or creatures which are so deeply covered with fur that you wish they were real? Good news, soon you’ll be able to watch your favorite animal become alive!

While the average consumer is still happy with laser printer technologies the first 3D printer which uses organic materials is on its way. Currently we already manage to print cell structures of about 2 inches high. Once finished these devices will be used for noble purposes like printing organs, victimless meat or other food. However, the real fun starts some years later, when they are cheap enough to buy one yourself.


The videogame Spore was released in 2008. In this god game players control the development of a species from its beginnings as a microscopic organism to an intelligent and complex creature. Players basically can ‘overrule’ every form of the evolution by deciding what their creatures will look like. Drag ‘n drop allows them literally to modify the animals to any shape.

Imagine that there would be a DIY plug-in for this game to print your newly shaped animal. Wouldn’t your kids love to see their two eyed fish learning faster than the one-eyed? Or did you tell them to give it at least six eyes so it can scan the entire environment? Do they want their fish to carry a swine smile? It’s all possible.

Animal Collection

Image: J.S.Bulc

With this kit creatures are designed from a whole new perspective: they are designed based on their looks or maybe facial expressions. Random desires from their owners win from their evolutionary needs. Of course these little extensions of life are in the beginning totally useless in every habitat, and who knows how to feed them and what food they’d like. But maybe they find a niche in nature and contribute to actual lifecycles once you’d design ‘a good one’.

Lawyers' Friend

Image: P. Sussi

Question is: do we want all that? It still has to be decided, but a quick peek in my mind tells me that at least I’d like the innovative game play. Anyway, let’s just not worry about the ethical issues yet. Hopefully the first batch can be created even before lawyers have opened their books. That would allow us to print above animal which has only Lawyers on its diet and we’re all safe. Print on!

Related: Build a better being, Epidermits – the tissue engineered toy, Grow a Nano-Raptor, Popple II, DNA Synthesizer, Top 10 new organisms.

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AJ Farkas
Posted 30/10/2009 – 03:18

Printing with organic matter is a far cry from granting it life, but I wonder: what is the source of the medium? I mean, what gets fed into the printer in order to create a cell. Is the 'victimless' meat simply adding another degree of separation- kill the pig, grind it up, and feed it through a printer?
I also wonder if there are non-medical applications. I would never eat synthetic meat, but perhaps a printer could create a seamless 10 yard piece of leather. What would you use this technology for?

Should men be able to give birth to children?


Lisa Mandemaker: Using an artificial womb could lead to more equality between sexes, but also between different family layouts. If men would be able to give birth to children, it would maybe be easier for male same-sex couples to have a child together.

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