Cornell bioengineers and physicians have created an artificial ear using 3-D printing and injectable gels made of living cells—that looks and acts like a natural ear. Over a three-month period, these ears grew cartilage to replace the collagen that was used to mold them. This gives hope not only to the thousands of children born with a congenital ear deformity called microtia (outer ear does not form), but also to those who have lost all or part of their external ear from cancer or an accident. Previously, reconstructed or replacement ears have been made with synthetic materials or from the patient’s harvested rib; this can be challenging, painful, and appear unnatural. Researchers continue to refine the process. Depending on future safety and efficacy testing, the first human implant of a bioengineered ear could happen in as little as three years.