We’re not exactly sure how small the monkey skull above is, but we’re fairly certain that each dot that makes up its surface (you can see some granularity on the image) is a little bigger than one quarter of one percent the width of a human hair. That’s small. It’s being shown to you to demonstrate what the machine that printed it is capable of. But then they’re not making monkey skulls to show off, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin are using the tech to print elaborate microscopic scaffolds which are then filled with specific kinds of bacteria, in order to determine the influence that their spacial distribution has on their pathogenecity, or their ability to infect. The structures are created with a laser, which focuses in a special jello-like resin that hardens with heat. At it’s smallest focal point, the laser beam is the size mentioned earlier, and so it creates the structure point by point, layer by layer. That right there is some cool tech, and we’re excited to hear that 3D printers are being used to make more than just fancy iPhone cases.