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Heterogeneous topology design and voxel-based bio-printing

AMM Ahsan (IME, NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, USA)
Ruinan Xie (North Dakota State University, Moorhead, Minnesota, USA)
Bashir Khoda (Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, North Dakota State University, Moorhead, Minnesota, USA)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 8 October 2018

Issue publication date: 18 October 2018




The purpose of this paper is to present a topology-based tissue scaffold design methodology to accurately represent the heterogeneous internal architecture of tissues/organs.


An image analysis technique is used that digitizes the topology information contained in medical images of tissues/organs. A weighted topology reconstruction algorithm is implemented to represent the heterogeneity with parametric functions. The parametric functions are then used to map the spatial material distribution following voxelization. The generated chronological information yields hierarchical tool-path points which are directly transferred to the three-dimensional (3D) bio-printer through a proposed generic platform called Application Program Interface (API). This seamless data corridor between design (virtual) and fabrication (physical) ensures the manufacturability of personalized heterogeneous porous scaffold structure without any CAD/STL file.


The proposed methodology is implemented to verify the effectiveness of the approach and the designed example structures are bio-fabricated with a deposition-based bio-additive manufacturing system. The designed and fabricated heterogeneous structures are evaluated which shows conforming porosity distribution compared to uniform method.


In bio-fabrication process, the generated bio-models with boundary representation (B-rep) or surface tessellation (mesh) do not capture the internal architectural information. This paper provides a design methodology for scaffold structure mimicking the native tissue/organ architecture and direct fabricating the structure without reconstructing the CAD model. Therefore, designing and direct bio-printing the heterogeneous topology of tissue scaffolds from medical images minimize the disparity between the internal architecture of target tissue and its scaffold.



Financial supports provided by the National Institute of Health under COBRE: CDTSPC Grant # P20GM109024 and by National Science Foundation Grant # IIA-1355466 are acknowledged.


Ahsan, A., Xie, R. and Khoda, B. (2018), "Heterogeneous topology design and voxel-based bio-printing", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 24 No. 7, pp. 1142-1154.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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