MHOX, a generative design studio focused on exploring new options in human body extensions and systems, has recently announced its plans to develop a fully functional 3D printed eye that could replace the faulty organ for blind people as soon as 2027. Originally a confidential project, MHOX chose to disclose some details about their progress and plans after Will.i.am made controversial comments warning people about the potential for scientists to eventually 3D print entire humans.
According to their website, MHOX expects that the “Latest developments in bioprinting and biohacking let us imagine that in the near future it would be possible to easily print organic, functional body parts, allowing the human to replace defected districts or enhance standard performance.”
The project, called EYE (Enhance Your Eye), will develop three models for the different needs (or desires) of the patient. EYE HEAL will be a functional replacement for the existing eye of someone with a sight disease or trauma. EYE ENHANCE sports a hyper-retina that will be able to improve human vision up to 15/10. This model will also allow the user to filter their ‘visual signal,’ such as changing visibility into black and white. This will be achieved by swallowing EYE pills that activate and change the different filters. EYE ADVANCE is the most space-age of them all. In addition to the features of EYE ENHANCE, it will allow users to record and even share what they’re seeing with others, by using the ‘WI-FI Gland,’ that is also pill-activated.
You can’t make this stuff up. Well, you can, but they’re being serious.
Although these are the three types of EYE MHOX plans to make available, each product will be customized and optimized for the user in order to be the most compatible with their retinal morphology. All users will have to undergo a surgery to install the ‘Deck,’ a technology that creates an artificial link between the EYE and brain. Then they can install any model of EYE interchangeably without further surgery.
As you may be aware, 3D bioprinting is already in practice. Printers can use a certain needle and bio-ink to drop cells that automatically congeale into a biological structure. Soon, scientists will be able to print all manner of organic, biological organs.
It’s the small leap from printing organs to printing organisms that has given some of the public, including Will.i.am, pause when it comes to developing these kinds of helpful but also enhancing technologies.
In response, MHOX states that, “While in our opinion the 3D-printing of full human beings is still a far reach vision, at least for technical reasons, we believe that the 3D bioprinting of functional parts and replacements is a contemporary issue that designers have to start addressing.”
Whatever the argument, bioprinting is moving forward at lightening speed. MHOX plans to launch the product in January 2027.
Photo Credits: MHOX