Tagged in: technology, digital revolution, bioprinting, 3D printing
Photosynthesis. A relatively simple but highly efficient process of plants using sunlight to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, which produces electrons and creates sugars for the plants growth and reproduction. Plants have evolved this process to a near 100% efficiency -- every photon of sunlight is converted to an equal number of electrons.
To date, even though the sun is the most abundant source of energy on the planet, humans harvest only a small fraction and convert it into energy. Researchers at the University of Georgia have found a way to tap into the plants photosynthesis process and capture the electrons before the plant can convert them into sugars. While this work is still in its infancy they do predict that in the near future it could be possible to power remote sensors or other lower powered portable electronic equipment.
But if we imagine beyond this -- what about man made objects that have the intelligence and ability for photosynthesis, such as the vision of the artist Vivien Muller below. Pretty cool, but let's go another step beyond this. One of the areas where there is much R&D in the 3D printing industry is in material science. And not just to produce better plastics, powered metals and even glass,but to use 3D printers with natural materials and for the creation of meta materials. Regenerative medicine is certainly pushing the boundaries here, and will stand to make massive changes to in the human existence. Some researchers are even using 3D printers to produce synthetic meat. In addition, imagine using this same technology to print synthetic wood, even synthetic trees and plants - a forest. It will could look exactly like a natural forest (this would be up to the designer of course), with the addition of electrical plugs.
Far fetched? Less so then you might think.
The possibility of this future is partially what inspired Uformia to develop our new geometric kernel and subsequent tools. In fact if anyone has seen Turlif speak during the last few years, you have heard these ideas before.
So, why all the fuse over the 3D printed gun when we have things like this to discuss?
The largest test of using 3D printing for direct mass manufacturing will occur at General Electric as they produce complex fuel nozzles for their jet engines. The objective is 25,000 nozzles per year, over the next three years. The first appearance of these parts will be installed in planes in late 2015 / early 2016.
Other divisions of GE will be watching the project as they consider using additive manufacturing in printing parts for gas and wind turbines, and probes for ultrasound machines.
Tecnologia Humana 3D started 3D printing fetus for diagnostic purposes with high risk pregnancies, they are now using 3D scan data to print replicas of embryos for their Feto 3D project. This service has been successful with helping blind parents make an early connection to their unborn baby after a scan.
Surprisingly, or not, this is not the only place to find such a service. A company in Japan, Fasotec and Hiroo Ladies Clinic, will print a 3D model from CT or MRI scans. The cost is $1,275. Fetus keychains and cellphone dongles are offered for an additional price.
Slashdot posed the same question we have heard so many times over the last few years: what is holding back 3D printing?
MIT's Technology Review repeats the answer which echos this question time and time again: it is the software that keeps 3D printing from achieving widespread adoption.
"...software innovation could be more important to 3-D printing than gradual improvements in the underlying technology for shaping objects. That technology is already 30 years old and is widely used in industry to create prototypes, molds, and, in some cases, parts for airplanes..."
Exactly. While there are more applications available in the vein then their used to be (OpenSCAD, Autodesk 123D, SketchUp, etc.), that 'killer app' still has not been realized.
Uformia will be throwing our hat into the ring very soon with MeshUp.
TED Fellow Skylar Tibbits talks about 4D printing, where the fourth dimension is time. This translates to printed objects that can reshape themselves or self-assemble over time.
Think: a printed cube that folds before your eyes, or a printed pipe able to sense the need to expand or contract.
The first Maker Faire in southern Germany is taking place on the 20th/21st April in Munich. Like all other maker faires, the idea is
A two-day, family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.
Our friends at i.materialise will be there as well, with a booth and delivering lectures on both days.
If you are in the area, we highly recommend checking it out.
This was one of Think Geek's April Fool's joke products, but who wouldn't love this printer! Hoping this inspires someone to develop it - in fact what a great Kickstarter project.
Via: Think Geek
Tagged in: 3d scanning, 3D printing
Tuan TranPham, 3D printing evangelist from Stratasys, has a new set of infographics and predictions for 2013.
Via: Tuan TranPham
Tagged in: news, 3D printing
We are very excited to see Mcor and Staples team up to offer a new 3D printing service, which is a huge stride in bringing 3D printing to the masses. Mcor is of course the perfect 3D printing company for Staples print division to partner with, as Mcor printers are the only ones which use standard office paper as the build material. This service, "Staples Easy 3D", will allow people to upload their models to the Staples website and have their object either mailed to them or picked up at a Staples location. The initial rollout is set for early 2013 in Belgium and the Netherlands, with other countries to follow.
This service will have access to Mcor's new full color IRIS printer, which if you have not already seen, is printing some impressive objects such as this skull.
Tagged in: technology, digital revolution, 3D printing
To follow up on the post Fabricating Nature let us consider what we mean by 'man-made' objects. Clearly, they are objects that are produced by human effort through a process of design and fabrication, rather than through a process of evolution and natural growth. But what if we start to blur the distinction between objects that we produce and objects that are produced directly from nature. What if we could produce objects that aren't the clunky things we have now, but ones which appear to have been grown. While it won't change the dictionary definition, it just might change our perception of manufacturing.
One of the ideas that our CTO and joint founder Turlif has mentioned in some of his talks is the idea of a Physical Turing Test. The traditional Turing Test was proposed by Alan Turing as a way of testing for artificial intelligence. Here a machine was said to pass if a human conversing with it in a blind test thought that they were talking with another human being. The idea of the Physical Turing Test is that we test objects against nature. If a human believes that a man-made object was actually made by nature, then the object passes.
An amusing example of this is in the Dilbert cartoon on 3D printing. Here, the 3D printed object was mistaken for the actual character, so physically the object passed the test. While mistaking a constructed object for a human being might seem unlikely, waxworks have always been popular not to mention the field of robotics. In the distant future, who knows – perhaps the traditional Turing test and the physical Turing test will one day need to be combined...