Washington University researchers have pioneered a technique allowing them to use a 3D printer to create bone-like material that spurs actual bone growth.

The material, created by the inkjet spray, acts as a scaffold upon which new bones grows. The scaffold then dissolves into the new bone without incident.

“If a doctor has a CT scan of a defect, we can convert it to a CAD file and make the scaffold according to the defect,” lead researcher Sumita Bose explained.

So far, the experiment has produced promising results in rats and rabbits. Custom orders of human bones could be just a decade away.

[via WSUNews via GammaSquad]