Sep 15, 2016 | By Benedict

Aether, a San Francisco-based 3D bioprinting startup, has formed research collaboration agreements with some of the world’s top universities so they can carry out 3D bioprinting research on the Aether 1 Bioprinter. The research will span many scientific and computational fields.

3D bioprinting and the quest to print functional human organs is one of the most exciting areas of 3D printing research. But while most people recognize the importance of developing such technology, the sheer cost of building or purchasing 3D bioprinting equipment remains prohibitive to many laboratories and research groups. San Fran startup Aether is looking to shake up this area of the industry with its Aether 1 Bioprinter, currently available in beta, and which will sell for just $9,000—a fraction of the cost of other bioprinters.

Despite the modest price tag on the Aether 1, the tech startup has taken steps to ensure that top researchers from around the world can start using the 3D bioprinter sooner rather than later. Aether this week announced a huge array of collaborative research agreements with a number of universities, putting Aether 1 beta units in the hands of researchers from the fields of biotechnology, chemistry, mechanical engineering, tissue engineering, materials science, nanotechnology, pharmacology, implantable device research, 3D electronics printing, and more. “This is a large-scale bioprinting research collaboration that’s unlike anything ever previously attempted,” said Aether CEO Ryan Franks. “We’re honored to be working with such an amazing group of researchers.”

Each university or institution to have signed an agreement with Aether will receive an Aether 1 3D bioprinter for conducting one or multiple research projects. Aether believes this move will enable researchers to affordably achieve significant breakthroughs in 3D bioprinting research, simultaneously putting Aether on the map as it becomes referenced in more and more scientific publications. The collaborative research will also enable Aether to improve features of the Aether 1 should researchers encounter any difficulties with the machine. Aether has even offered to assist researchers in their projects and may develop custom features for the 3D printer if a project requires it.

“Before we even had the chance to officially announce that we were seeking beta users, each of these researchers proactively reached out directly to Aether to find out how they could get an Aether 1,” Franks explained. “We took that as a sign that this group is extremely eager to innovate with the newest and most powerful bioprinting technology, which makes them the perfect choice to be the very first people to gain access to a completely new kind of bioprinting tool. It’s also an excellent sign that there’s a lot of pent-up demand for a product like this that tremendously advances bioprinting technology for an extremely low cost.”

Aether believes that the introduction of the Aether 1 to universities and institutions around the world will bring about huge benefits to mankind, such as eliminating the need for animal testing, ending donor organ shortages, extending human lifespan, and improving human performance and capabilities through biotechnologies. While these goals could be pursued with other 3D bioprinting equipment, the affordability of the Aether 1 will give many more researchers the chance to do so.

Release of the Aether 1 has been delayed slightly so the company can implement an exciting new feature: the ability to print with 24 different extruders. In addition to the 8 syringe extruders and dual FFF hot-end extruders that come standard with an Aether 1 base unit, the 3D bioprinter can now be also be outfitted with up to 14 additional droplet jet extruders. Other features include Machine Vision-based fully Automatic Air Pressure Calibration, fully Automatic Stage Leveling, unique Automatic Nozzle Cleaning, and an as-yet-unannounced new feature.

Beta units of the Aether 1 are expected to ship throughout fall 2016, with the final Aether 1 product on sale shortly after.

Participating universities, institutions, and nonprofits:

  • Cambridge University - Department of Engineering
  • Northwestern University - Department of Materials Science and Engineering
  • National University of Singapore - Department of Biomedical Engineering/Department of Materials Science and Engineering
  • McGill University Health Centre - Montreal General Hospital Orthopaedic Research Laboratory
  • Dayton University - Chemical and Materials Department
  • University of Minnesota - Bioprinting Facility
  • McMaster University - Department of Mechanical Engineering, under supervision of Professor Ravi Selvaganapathy
  • Tuft’s University - Computer and Electrical Engineering Department
  • University of South Australia - School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences
  • Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis - School of Informatics
  • University of Washington - UW/Harborview Medical Center Orthopaedics Department
  • University of Waterloo - Biomedical Engineering Program/Systems Design Engineering
  • Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (“CSEM”)
  • Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (“Embrapa”)
  • National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Range of Motion Project (“ROMP”)



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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TrueScientist wrote at 6/8/2017 4:54:46 AM:

They promised us a simple two-print heads system since last year. Just for such simple system, they are unable to deliver, even up to now. Very pathetic...

CraigLieb wrote at 3/3/2017 6:02:38 PM:

No, I am an Organovo stock holder.. I protect my investment jealously, but Organovo doesn't PAY me! These folks have no contact information.. It is clearly nonsense. Please post a phone number that has a human being from Aether. Provide a business registration. Link to a patent they actually hold. Provide the biography of the principal holders. Show their degrees, other information about them. How about ONE journal article they have published in a peer reviewed publication? Can we even get the folks that RECEIVED their printer (must have finished shipping to Cambridge by now) to post themselves with this model? or was that made up too?

I.AM.Magic wrote at 9/20/2016 9:48:19 AM:

You can bio-print while printing polymer filament ! Get your own bio-plastic organs today! Interesting, no protective chamber? Nothing to protect the print from dust, microbes, or other or organisms. The machine's specification are a bit ambitious: Standard Motor Z axis – 43 nanometers (0.000043mm) Standard Motor X/Y axis – 1 micron (0.001mm) High Resolution Motor Z axis – 0.4 nanometers (0.0000004mm) High Resolution Motor X/Y axis – 10 nanometers (0.00001mm) Doubt it! if you think that micro-stepping helps you getting those specs, then I'm pretty scared. Unless you are magic too!

Feign wrote at 9/19/2016 7:10:41 PM:

Keith, what they mean is the printer in the video is just a prop. It can't possibly match the specs of the printer Aether is promising. Hyrel's System line of printers can do bio plotting for around $7k. The difference is that they've never claimed to have nano-scale resolution on the System line.

Keith Murphy wrote at 9/16/2016 10:06:05 PM:

How can there be no such printer when there is a video of a full demonstration of the machine directly above your comments? CraigLieb TwoJugglers and WilliamWiki are all paid Organovo posters, their job is to post negative comments about Aether in order to keep ONVO stock from crashing.

CraigLieb wrote at 9/16/2016 12:36:41 PM:

What happened to investigative journalism where sources are checked and stories verified before being published. Try to find one person that actually has seen this printer at a university and things it isn't a hoax. The specifications of the device are not reasonable. They are claiming nano-scale placements of material while they are clearly showing a belt-drive. That's like writing your name on a piece of paper by driving your pickup truck on it. This article should be removed. Or at least edited with facts.

WilliamWiki wrote at 9/16/2016 11:36:24 AM:

There is no such company, this is a prank by Ryan Franks and the boys who modified a Makerbot. Nice try guys.

Two Jugglers wrote at 9/16/2016 6:21:11 AM:

Aether is a total scam. There is no such printer. This is a pathetic attempt to scare investors out of their Organovo shares. Note that there is no contact information in this article or on the website. There used to be an address listed, but it was just a virtual office address. Don't trust this for even a moment.

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