Showing posts with label 3d printing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 3d printing. Show all posts

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Researchers develop 3D printed objects that can track and store how they are used

3D printed objects
Researchers at the University of Washington have devised a way by which technology can be made from 3D printers, which can be got from the off- the shelf and what’s more is that these 3D printed objects wouldn’t have to use electronics or be made from electronic materials to work. These 3D printed objects can be in the form of a pill bottle which is “smart” in the sense that it helps a patient remember when to take their pills.

However with 3D printed objects made of plastic, they cannot be monitored by researchers to show how the pill bottle and such is being used by the patient- that is whether they find it convenient enough for a next time use or once is enough. But researchers have found a way to overcome this obstacle as well.

The Solution to 3D Printed Objects is “Backscatter”: 

 Researchers at the University of Washington have found a technique known as “backscatter” that helps these devices store data offline and then send that information when the device is back online using an antenna. The 3D printed object can also receive information in the same manner- by reflecting the signal off of an antenna.

This backscatter technique helps sort the problem of not knowing how the patient uses the 3D printed object. It also helps keep the cost low by using only plastic and non- electronic parts.

Connecting the 3D Printed Object to Wi- Fi: 

Researchers at Washington University have found a way for the 3D printed object to connect to the Wi- Fi. This will allow the 3D printed object to order a pill bottle online when the current stock is running low, say for example, when the patient requires some more.

By making 3D printed tech from plastics and without using any electronics, it keeps the cost low while also you could get the object wet without worrying about spoiling it. This opens up a whole new set of applications where the same technique can be used.

The Monitoring Problem in 3D Printed Objects: 

In the researchers previous study they could track data going in one direction and wanted to do so in two directions as well. That means that while a 3D printed object could track detergent levels which saved information in one direction, researchers also wanted data to be tracked in both directions like the opening and closing of a pill bottle.

With one directional data movement, researchers used gears that allowed a fluid to move through when the gear moved in one direction and this liquid would push a switch down to reach the antenna.
For two directional data movement, researchers have now developed two gears one on the top and the other on the bottom. This apparatus works in the same way as well with the fluid and gears. So as the pill bottle is opened the gear moves in one way, pressing the top antenna and when it is closed the gears move in the other way, pressing the bottom antenna.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

3D Muscle that could Lift 1,000 times its own weight

Scientists are one step closer to humanoid robots. They have come up with an artificial 3D Muscle that can lift 1000 times its own weight.

The device in 3D Muscle is also known as an actuator can push, pull, bend, twist and even lift weights. This new device will not require a high power outage or even a separate compressor as did previous models.

Scientists are saying that this 3D Muscle is the closest they’ve ever come to a functioning human muscle.

The main goal of such a project is to combine artificial intelligence to control this 3d developed muscle. The 3D Muscle is said to have a range of applications especially in the medicine sector such as surgeries.

The way the 3D Muscle is developed will allow it to perform in high stress and high strain without being high in density. This study was achieved by lead author Aslan Miriyev.

The material derived is easy to make, made with environmentally safe materials and also has a low cost of development. The material developed by scientists combines the elastic properties and volume change attributes of other material systems.

After the desired shape is 3D printed, the muscle is made to expand, contract and rotate using a resistive wire and a low power consumption.

This 3D muscle was then tested in various settings and in each of these settings it was able to demonstrate significant expansion and contraction abilities.

In this testing environment, the 3D muscle was able to expand to up to 900% when heated at 80 degrees.
Via the use of a computer this 3D muscle is able to perform any tasks in almost any setting.

Up and until now no material was capable of replicating the functioning of a human soft muscle. None of the previously discovered materials was capable of showing the desired properties of high strain and stress.

Professor Hod Lipson said that the 3D printed material was capable of showing much promise especially in areas of high human interaction such as manufacturing and healthcare. He continued to say that till date the all materials made were extremely rigid. This limited their applicability. Today with the newly discovered 3D printable material, these soft robots can perform normal functioning such as grasping, manipulating objects, performing delicate tasks and picking up objects. The mobility that such a material affords makes it adept in performing all these tasks.

Scientists have made great strides in developing robot minds but robot bodies have remained altogether primitive. With these newly achieved 3D made muscles, scientists are now making great strides in the right direction. This new actuator can now be shaped in different ways depending on the setting it is to be used and its applicability.

This 3D printed muscle is the closest scientists have come to replicating human muscle. The material is now being used with different materials such as conductive materials are used in place of wire, which is said to increase the artificial muscle’s shelf life and response time.

Dr Aslan further stated that in time these muscles used in combination with artificial intelligence would be a milestone in replicating natural motion.

The 3D printed muscle showed great promise when weighing in merely 13 grams it was able to lift a 1 kg object in the testing environment.

Researchers are now aimed at using artificial intelligence in controlling the muscle, they say this would be the last milestone in achieving natural motion.

With this breakthrough technology, mechanical engineers at Columbia University have said that this 3d muscle will be even stronger than human muscle.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

3D Printed Turbine Blades a 'Breakthrough', Says Siemens


The world is full of competitors and the tech companies have taken it to another level. We always witness a tussle among the top-rated companies and we are the ones who get the advantage of being a common man. Due to the advanced technologies prevailing in this world, we have been able to lead a more comfortable life. Once we start getting things easily, we don’t really care from where it is coming and how it is happening.

We just enjoy the flow without knowing the nitty gritty. Well, the tech companies are always on the run to develop new gadgets and design something new for the betterment for the lives. Recently, the company Siemen have made a breakthrough in terms of the printing technology by challenging the 3D printed turbine blades.


The German pioneer Engineering group Siemens has gone ahead and made a breakthrough by testing the 3D printed turbine blades. The technology of the 3D printing is new and it was purchased by them from Material solutions. The 3D printed turbine blades make revolutions of 13000 per minute and that too when the temperature is more than 1250 Celsius. This is certainly incredible. The mechanism has made really breakthrough. The 3D printed turbine blades have a weight more than 180 gm but when the blade rotates it weighs more than 11 tonnes with speed.


Additive manufacturing is another term of 3D printing. This takes into consideration of adding extra thin layers of materials one after the other. The 3D printed turbine blades were made from a special technology of 3D printing which includes the impact of cooling geometry. A special type of powder made from metals is placed over the layer and the rest is done by the laser.

The parts can be designed and printed using the Auto Cad software which is in high demand for the designing purposes. The fact that is not still clear is that the time duration that the 3D printed turbine blades will take to roll into the market and become available for the common multitude. However, the testing duration is a bit more.

Once it becomes available for the market, it would gain a huge popularity. The scientists are trying their best to bring this into the commercial market. The tests are going on and also they need to check the durability of the material so that once it is rolled into the market, it does not create any sort of mess. The 3D printed turbine blades should be hard and durable in order to make and impact among the other competitors of the turbine blade dealers.


The material is processed by using the process of casting. Well, it is one of the best technology in order to process such kinds of materials. But one thing that will annoy you is the time required for the completing the process. The time can be shortened by using additive manufacturing. The time is cut down to 3 months.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Printable Sensor Laden Skin for Robots

Gold Bug robot skin
According to several studies this decade has seen maximum technological advancements in the past 50 years. The radical positive changes in technology have made this the age of tablet computer and Smartphone. This is the era of touch sensitive surfaces and they’re so fragile that anyone with a cracked Smartphone screen can easily attest to the fact. While touch sensitive phones or TV devices seems possible, covering a bridge, airplane or a robot with sensors would require technology that’s both lucrative and lithe to manufacture.

Creation of a new device 

However, our world-renowned scientists are known for their superficial capability and unending endeavors to create something new. A group of dedicated scientists at MIT’s CSAIL or Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have devised that 3D printing could make the work possible. The researchers tried to demonstrate the viability of printable and flexible electronics that combine processing circuitry and sensors. The amazing fact is that the researchers were actually able to create a device that would react to mechanical changes by altering its surface color.

The scientists found as their inspiration, ‘goldbug’ or more commonly known as the golden tortoise beetle that changes its color from golden to red, when prodded or poked. This reaction in both the beetle and the new device is caused by the mechanical stresses. MIT graduate Subhramanium Sundaram says, that the network of interconnects and sensors are called sesnsimotor. Sundaram, who led the project, said that their attempt was to try and replicate sensimotor pathways and install it within a 3D printed project. So, in their attempt to make their vision possible, they considered testing the simplest organism they could find.

Several scientists made it possible 

To demonstrate their new concept and design, the researchers presented their concept in Advanced Material Technologies. Along with Sundaram who is the first author of the paper, were his senior associates like professor of EECS Marc Balbo, and associate professor Wojciech Matusik. Others who joined the paper include technical assistant in MCFG David Kim, an EECS student named Ziwen Jiang, and a former postdoc, Pitchaya Sitthi Amom. A type of plastic substrate is used to deposit flexible circuitry on printable electronics and for decades this has been a major area of research. According to Sundaram the range of the device itself greatly increases once the print in put on the substrate.

However, he also says that the types on materials on which the print can be deposited get limited by the choice of substrate. This happens because; the printed substrate would be created by combining different materials, interlocked in complicated but regular patterns. Hagen Klauk who is a world-renowned scientist at Max Planck institute is quite impressed by the creation of this concept. According to him, printing an optoelectronic system that too with all the components and substrate by depositing all the liquids and solids is certainly useful, interesting and novel. Further, the demonstration of this method makes the system functional and proves this novel approach is 100% possible. This approach will lead to improvised manufacturing environments, and dedicated substrate materials will no longer be available.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Bioprinting Bones and Muscles the Future of Transplants


3D Printer – Human Tissue

Fourteen years back most of the businesses had not even heard of 3D printing or had not even experimented with printing objects in material like plastic or metal. However, one research institute had been laying the foundation of building its own 3D printer for a complete intricate material, the human tissue.

Transplants of tissue and organs have been utilised in medicine for years in assisting patients with damaged or diseased tissue, skin grafts for burns. For instance, a piece of patellar tendon was used for replacing a ruptured ligament.

Usually these tend to come from donors or are taken from a healthy area of a patient’s body to a damaged part, though scientist from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine – WFIRM seemed to have developed a prototype printer which could be utilised someday, to print tissue sections designed to fit into a person’s unique disorder.

WFIRM researchers, to begin with, starting working on constructing human tissue from cells by hand and the first cells were removed from the patients through biopsies where a tiny sample of tissue tend to be explanted in order to assist physicians with the diagnoses, which is cultured to multiply in numbers.

Utilised Printers in Making of Tissue

The cells are placed on a scaffold, positioned into an incubator and when the tissue develops into the desired build, is returned to a patient. It is said to be a labour intensive process, one which yielded tissue that has not been adequately strong enough to be utilised in human patients. Dr Anthony Atala, heading the research at WFIRM had informed ZDNet that they had been working on tissues and organs for patients for the purpose of implantation and had already put a pair in patients.

They recognised that it was OK to create them by hand, if one were creating a few for clinical trial. However if one was to create it for hundreds of thousands of patients, you would require to scale it up. It was at this point of time that they began looking at how they could scale up the technology.

The researchers at WFIRM had hit on the idea of utilising printers in the making of tissue few years thereafter, but with commercial 3D printing yet very much at the initial level; the researchers had been experimenting with more widespread technology, adopting the prevailing desktop inkjet printers.

Cells through Hydrogel

The cells were placed in the inkwells of the printer and thereafter outputted in a specific manner in the creation of the desired tissue build. Although the commercial 3D printers seems to be more widespread over the years that followed, WFIRM researchers had to develop their own hardware depending on the inkjet system owing to the unique nature of tissue of the humans.

Atala informed that they began utilising the inkjet printer for experiments to find out how they could make it work. They could get the cells through the hydrogel though they could not get the accuracy with regards to where they had laid down the cells and the constructions did not have the structural integrity essential to be surgically implanted. They began looking for more sophisticated printing which they could achieve and began doing the same by basically constructing their own printing devices.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Chinese Funeral Home 3D Prints Body Parts For Damaged Corpses

3d print

3D Printing Body Parts – To Repair Disfigured/Damaged Bodies

According to Chinese state-owned broadcaster China Radio International, a 3D printing body parts has been started by a funeral home in Shanghai in an effort to repair disfigured or damaged bodies. Chinese state-funded news site The Paper noted that the Funeral Parlor, the 3D printing repair service in Longhua comprises of building various layers of material over each other in order to construct a three-dimensional product. The outlet has informed that with the combination of 3D printing, makeup and hair implants it would be capable of reconstructing faces similar at least by 95%.

The Paper noted that destroyed bone structure and damaged body parts could be the consequences of deaths from natural disasters, industrial and traffic accidents. The director of Shanghai’s funeral services centre, Liu Gengming, informed Shanghai Daily that `it would be difficult for relatives to see incomplete faces or bodies of their loved ones when they attend memorial services and makeup does not always repair them adequately. He added that people could utilise the technique in making the corpses of their dear one seem younger or better in looks.

Mend Damaged Bodies with Wax & Sludge

The Paper mentioned that Chinese funeral homes, usually mend disfigured or damaged bodies with materials like wax and sludge. Liu states that while these materials helped in reconstructing the shape of the faces of the bodies, they seem to fail in recreating accurately, the texture of their skin and hair. According to China Radio International, a facial reconstruction would be costing $620 to $776. Hundreds of people in China, in recent years, had died resulting in industrial accidents, several of which were the outcome of negligent enforcement and regulations.

An artificial landslide of accumulated construction waste had collapsed in Shenzhen, southern China, in December, killing around 60 people. Longhua’s venture, assumed to be the first time that a Chinese funeral home has provided 3D printing services as part of Shanghai’s implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan, of China according to The Paper. The plan, which had been approved last October calls for more improvement in science and technology. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the country had also issued a plan demarcating goals to develop the 3D printing industry of the country, in February 2015.

Opening Avenues in Solving Issues of Disabilities/Shortage of Donor Organ

The new service of Longhua adds to a developing list of methods which scientists seem to be using 3D technology on the human body. A group of scientists and researchers, last month had announced that they achieved a 3D print an organ which could work on humans for the first time, thus opening avenues in solving the issue of disabilities or shortages of donor organ.

 Today, 3D printers have been transforming medicine by constructing replacement of bones, fingers, skin and ears for patients and accident affected victims. 3D printed human tissue, on the cutting edge of this area is known as `bio-printing and is created by utilising modified printer cartridges and extracted cells which have been obtained from the biopsies of the patient. They are grown by using standard techniques which are cultured in a growth medium in dishes, enabling them to increase. The cells can then be loaded in cartridges and printed into layers that tend to fuse together, maturing into tissues.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Spies can steal objects by recording the sound of a 3D printer

3D printer
Industrial espionage isn’t a new thing rather it has been going for ages since the old age. Over the years the technological advancement has opened up a new frontier for the industrial spies to discreetly spy over the industries secrets without even being there. Researchers have discovered that industrial spies can easily and accurately steal the 3D objects by simply recording the sound produced by the 3D printer when printing such objects.

University of California shows the method of reversing the work done by 3D printer

University of California researchers have shown a simple yet mind blowing method which reverse engineers the 3D design by carefully analyzing the vibrations made a 3D printer. Industrial spies are likely to perform the same trick to get hold of 3D objects by using this very method for their own end.

Shedding more light on this research the director of the UCI’s Adavanced Integrated Cyber Physical Systems Lab, Mohammand Al Faruque, said that industrial spies can even make use of the smartphone to record the vibrations made by the 3D printer to develop their own 3D object.

Researchers had made the use of recording wherein data recorded included things like how a 3D printer parts move and the very same logic can be used recreating the 3D objects with an accuracy of almost 90% which is more than enough to know what is being created.

3D print theft are becoming more commonplace

Over the years 3D print theft signs have been raised throughout the globe but this research will only help in cementing the idea of 3D print theft more convincingly. The losses incurred due to this kind of cybercrime are relatively small or not much known about it at the present.

Another point which doesn’t go positive with the thought of rampant 3D print theft without getting under the radar is that 3D file come heavily encrypted. But some of the system has been developed which can be used to unscramble and remove the encryptions from the 3D files with ease and simplicity. Companies can invest huge amount in securing the printing networks but it is not possible to protect the vibrations and sound made by the 3D printers.

This research turns head of the US agencies

Following the publication of the results of this research some of the US agencies and other researchers had shown active interest in the possible 3D thefts. Al Faruque has stated that the prospects of the 3D printing theft technology can be used in the surveillance and military sector which will help in making the 3D printer networks much more secure and better than before.

Researchers have concluded that 3D printer manufacturers should use some precautionary measures like adding white noises or some other distant and random vibration in order thwart the likelihood of 3D printing theft. Furthermore companies should also term the 3D printing machine zones as the ‘no smartphone’ zone which will help in minimizing the 3D print theft to a great extent.

Friday, 6 November 2015

3D Knitting Machines will be in Every Home

3D Knitting
Knitting had once been the domain of grannies in bygone days, but now it has gone high tech and will soon be the next big thing in the maker world. 3D knitting as known as the tech version had been inspired by the 3D printing revolution, aiming a goal to be the one piece of manufacturing technology in all homes. It makes clothes and not objects and has a great advantage over 3D printing since it has several uses.

Everyone seems to wear clothes and is always on the look for changes and updates moving with the latest trend. Another advantage of 3D printing is that it is reusable. For coarser knits, garments could be un-knitted if one does not like the ways it may look or if one is just bored with it, leaving you with the option of turning it into some other alternative.

Three dimensional knitting machines are made available and seem to be on the rise. One such example is the OpenKnit which can be built from a kit and is a part of a manufacturing ecosystem which comprises of a software interface together with digital hub to share designs. OpenKnit already seems to be having a huge global community increasing the platform and restating the hardware as well as software.

Open Source Approach to Wearable Technology

As in the cases of all successful open source projects, this too will progress and issue new and unexpected version in 2015. For over 20 years, commercial 3D knitting machines have been operative, though they are created for established mass production.

The open source knitting community, in contrast would be changing the way clothes will be designed and made, creating new types of clothing especially by assimilating various types of fibres in the knitting. These would be by way of electrically conducting threads. On doing so, the technology would be kick-starting an open source approach to a wearable technology, with embedded sensors together with improved function, which commercially had been slow in taking off.

 In order to comprehend the capabilities of home 3D knitting machines, one needs to consider how the sewing machine that was presented in the 19th century had changed completely the way clothes were designed, made and repaired. This reduced the price of clothing, creating inventions in garment making and fashion. Ultimately small business gave way to the mass-produced clothes manufacturers which tend to control the present markets.

Inexpensive Modified Garments Designed to Fit

The 3D knitting machine tends to now promise another way of commotion. Since each one of us tends to be of different shape and size, 3D knitting provides something which the commercial clothes manufacturers do not offer, inexpensive modified garments designed to fit a person.

This is possible with the help of digital scanning technologies and design software which can resize the clothing designs to fit an individual. Since these garments are created at home, one could instantly try them on and if any alteration is needed, they can be redone.

Besides this, due to the power of social media, one has the opportunity of sharing the patterns and designs easily and readily where the potential of 3D knitting technology tend to become clear.

Monday, 19 October 2015

How a 3 D Printer Changed a 4-Year Old's Heart and Life

3D printed heart

Mia’s Malformation Treated With 3-D Printer

Mia Gonzalez who had been suffering from malformation in her aorta, the vessel that pumps blood from the heart, had to spend the first three and a half years of her life missing on most of the activities in life. She had to miss out on day care as well as dance classes due to the condition of colds and pneumonia.

When she was unable to go out and play, she was easily breathless and had to take multiple asthma medication to aid in the breathing. After around 10 hospital stay she had been diagnosed of this ailment. This four year old was in need of an operation to block off the part of her aorta which was putting pressure on her windpipe, making it hard to breathe, swallow and get rid of phlegm whenever she got a cold.

Mia’s mother, Katherine Gonzalez informed that they got out, thinking that she had asthma only to be told that she needed to undergo open heart surgery. However, her malformations seemed to be complicating. The surgeons at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, treating Mia would have been apprehensive regarding the process if it was not for the new technology, the 3-D printer

Printer Use Images From MRI/CT Scan Images as Templates

The hospital had obtained a 3-D printer, earlier in the year, which makes the exact models of organs which the doctors could use to plan surgery as well as practice operations. The printer then to use images from patients’ MRI or CT scan images as template and lays down layers of rubber or plastic.

The director of paediatric cardiovascular surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Dr Redmond Burke, considered the model of Mia’s heart for couple of weeks and showed it to his colleagues for their contribution regarding the same. He even carried it in his gym bag for quick reference.

He finally had the right insight and instead of making an incision on the left side of this kind of heart defect, known as double aortic arch, he cut into Mia’s chest from the right. Burke informed that without the model he would have been less certain about Mia’s operation and that would have led him in making a larger incision which would cause more pain with longer recovery time. He added that using the model there was no room for doubt and surgeons dislike doubts.

Model Saved Team/Patient – 2 Hours in Operation Theatre

He points that the model saved the team as well as the patient about two hours in the operation theatre since he was capable of having a clearer plan in performing the surgery. Though 3-D printers had been clinically utilised for the last 20 or 25 years in making prototypes for surgical tools as well as other usages, it only began with simulated organs in the last few years, according to Rader.

 Surgeons had utilised the simulated organs for preparing all types of complicated surgeries like the surgery to remove a brain tumour or to correct a severe cleft palate, informs Rader. He further adds that, doctors could operate on them with regular surgical tools again and again till they found the optimal way of doing the surgery.

 For Mia, four months thereafter, her mother informed that the surgery seemed like ancient history to her and she had forgotten all about the surgical scar and had little pain. Though she had some minor colds, none had given her reason to be in the hospital and a month later she was also in a position to participate in her dance performance

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Cancer Patient Receives 3D Printed Ribs


Cancer Patient Receives First 3D Printed Rib Cage

A 54 old cancer patient from Spain has become the first person in the world to receive a 3D printed RIB CAGE who had been suffering from a cancerous tumour which had grown around his rib cage and sternum. A section of it had to be removed to cut out the growth completely.

However, rather than changing the ribs with a metallic plate as is the custom, surgeon at Salamanca University Hospital requested Anatomics, an Australian firm to make a personalized titanium imitation. By scanning the patient’s sternum and the rib cage, the team designed a customized model utilising a 3D printer provided by Australia’s national science agency – CSIRO.

Additive manufacturing research leader at CSIRO, Alex Kingsburg informed that `the reason 3D printing was preferred in making this implant was because it needed to be customised accurately to suit the patient since no human body tends to be the same and hence every implant would be different’. He further adds that it would have been an extremely complex piece to create usually and would have also been impossible.

CSIRO’s 3D Printing Facility Lab 22

After the 54 year old Spanish had been diagnosed with a chest wall sarcoma, the surgical team made a decision to remove his sternum an a part of his rib cage, to replace it with an implant where the implant was designed and manufactured by medical device company – Anatomics.

The device company used the CSIRO’s 3D printing facility Lab 22 in Melbourne, Australia. The surgical team comprising of Dr Jose Aranda, Dr Marcelo Jimene and Dr Gonzalo Varela from Salamanca University Hospital, were aware that the surgery would be a difficult one due to the complicated geometries that were involved in the chest cavity.

The process has been described in the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic surgery. Dr Aranda has stated that they thought that they could create a new kind of implant which could fully customise to replicate the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs. They wanted to provide a safer option for the patient and improve their recovery post-surgery’. Hence the surgeon had sought the help of Anatomics.

Implant Out of Surgical Grade Titanium Alloy

On evaluating the complexity of the requirements, Andrew Batty, CEO of Anatomics informed that the solution lay in metallic 3D printing. He stated that they wanted to 3D print the implant from titanium due to its complex geometry and design.

He added that while titanium implants had previously been utilised in chest surgery, designs have not considered the issues related to long term fixation and flat and plate implants depend on screws for firm fixation which may tend to get loose over a period of time. This could however, increase the risk of complication and the possibility of a re-operation. With high resolution CT data, the Anatomics team were capable of creating a 3D reform of the chest wall as well as the tumour enabling the surgeons to plan and precisely define resection margins.

With this, Mr Batty informed that that they were able to design an implant with firm sternal core and semi-flexible titanium rods which acted as prosthetic ribs attached to the sternum. Operating with experts at CSIRO’s 3D printing facility, the team then developed the implant out of surgical grade titanium alloy. The implant was built using a $1.3 million Arcam printer according to Alex Kingsbury from CSIRO’s manufacturing team.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

MIT Unveils 3D Printing Method Using Glass Instead of Plastic

They’re calling it 3DGP for Glass 3D Printing.

Borne out of collaboration between the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab, the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT, the MIT Glass Lab and the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, 3DGP is the first time transparent glass has been used as precursor, the “ink” in common printing parlance, in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. The paper titled “Additive Manufacturing of Optically Transparent Glass” by Neri Oxman, John Klein et al. will be published in the September 2015 issue of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing (3DP+).

  • Using optical glass as precursor in the printing process is a first
The machine works like a conventional 3D printer, where layer upon layer of the precursor is deposited on a work surface, thereby literally building a product from the ground up. In 3DGP, the upper part of the machine is the kiln containing molten glass at up to 1100°C, which is then piped through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle, which traces the shape to be printed in all three dimensions. The lower chamber anneals the constructed structures.

The process is laser precise and could pave the way for fundamentally changing how glass and related objects are manufactured, the most obvious example being fibre optics, made with higher accuracy and lesser expense, which might be integrated into other surfaces or fabricated materials. This will enable them, for instance, to be incorporated in building construction, such as in precast walls or glass façades, the latter of which can now be created in unimaginable shapes. Also under consideration are printable optoelectronics and photonics.

  •  Printed architectural structures incorporated with fibre optics and optoelectronics a possibility
The accuracy with which the thickness and shape of the glass can be controlled is significant: geometrical variations can be used to generate desired forms of transparency, reflectivity, refractivity and various other properties.

With cutting edge research and indigenous processes and methodology at stake, people are understandably unwilling to reveal the nitty-gritties of the process. Extruder manufacturer Micron3DP, with a similar glass 3D printer in development, has been equally reluctant to share information, except that their printhead can reach temperatures up to 1640°C.

  • Details about the printing process and glass composition are closely guarded
Although the products of 3DGP have only been novelties until now, the group at MIT will soon begin to print various other geometrically complex structures, chiefly those with architectural applications. And like with any case of 3D printing, the bespoke nature of the work means maximum compatibility with each and every application.

Intricate glass work has always remained outside the domain of mechanisation; manual work by master glassblowers has been the way to go. How this new technology might clash with the age-old practice remains unknown. 3D printing might breach new frontiers of adhesion between layers, lack of light distortion, clarity, and most importantly, indistinguishability. Complex patterns created by hand will never be identical to the previous case. 3DGP and its competition do not suffer from this drawback; they can create identical products over and over.

  • Glass-blowing: an art on the way out?
3D printing might also enable creation of new shapes and structures that might have been impossible to fashion by hand, whether due to weight or other restrictions.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

In a First, Drug Using 3D Printing Technology Gets FDA Nod

Photo: AFP Relaxnews
3D printing right from the start was a revolutionary idea i.e. to recreate the exact replicas of existing objects from a template by using the material of your choice. And as days pass by, you can see all sorts of things being done from weapons to vehicles to even whole buildings – all printed. Drugs are now no stranger to this either as a 3D printed drug for the first time has been approved by U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration.

The first of 3D printed drug

Well, while it was inevitable, what it does is even more powerful. Drug synthesis generally follows the “one-fits-all” philosophy to cater to as large a diversity as possible and in the process make it less effective with more side-effects. But the 3D printed drug is specific to the patient’s bodily systems and is thus way more effective.

The drug was made by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals Co., and was approved for oral ingestion as a prescribed medicine for adjunctive therapy. It is being used in the treatment of epilepsy. Spritam, as the drug goes by, uses a special “ZipDose” technology which is nothing but a delivery system whereby measured dozes are ingested and they break down in mouth with a sip of the liquid.

What it means?

The approval is a significant step forward in the field of personalized treatment where instead of general drugs, specific drugs are created, synthesized and prescribed leading to more effective treatment with minimal side effects. Until now, most uses of 3D printing in medical field was for the creation of body parts like prosthetic arms and legs, and dental implants and some of the advanced works in creation of whole organs by 3D printing. Even bone replacement are also being carried out with the help of 3D printing. But this creation of the 3D printed drug gives it a new direction.

Personalized treatment has many in th proverbial sense, a “holy-grail” of medicine and with this technology, that might just come true. Especially so with the first successful trials and approval, there is more incentive now to offer such services and more research into it.

The future

One can already envision a future of medical care where medicines are created on labs and then synthesized in 3D printers based on each individual’s characteristics. Also, there are ongoing research in UK regarding recreation of cancerous parts of the body to replace them for patients suffering from so.

Such advancement with technological augmentation means that a more safer future where most diseases are either eradicated or can be treated with relative ease. But predictions are hard to make and especially so about the future. However with a good amount of research and ingenuity, human kind can finally conquer all diseases where none of them are lethal and treatment takes a short amount of time, less chemicals and in general is more effective.

One can only hope that further use and research of 3D printing in pharmaceuticals will bring in more effective drugs with less side-effects!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

3D Printing Could Resurrect Custom Car Making

The world was introduced to Blade on Thursday, and this is a 3D-printed supercar which has been designed by the leading automobile company as the proof of designing concept based on 3D. It aims at establishing the new technology among the micro automakers as well as to reshape the automobile industry.

The company is hoping that the micro automakers get the same evolution as it has been seen in the world of microbreweries across the United States of America. The aim is to establish democracy in the auto industry and start the new goal for the dematerialized vehicles.

The 3D-printing technologies can easily turn out the auto manufacturing very affordable for the players to enter the industry and build vehicles according to their taste and drive the era forwards. Through this technology the micro automakers will be able to deliver cars ranging upto 10000 every year. It has designed the 3D printed blade for attracting the attention of the prospective players of the auto sector.

The cutting edge product "the Blade"

It is a bi-fuel vehicle which will be able to run on CNG as well as gasoline. It will be able to hit 60mph in less than 2 seconds since it comes with a 700-horsepower engine as well as 1,400-lb ultra light build. It has been based on the node technology of the company.

This is the technology will be allow the small auto players to develop cars on higher scale. The other benefit of the technology is the reduction in the environment impact from the auto making process. This technology will allow cars to be built out of literally any material and the emission will be about one third of the total emission released during the manufacturing of the electric vehicle.

They  kept on thinking about working and manufacturing cars in affordable range and in lower volume. It is about bringing out a world which allows small yet profitable custom car makers globally.

The Auto Industry democratized

Despite the wait it might take to get the new node technology to be understood by the auto makers, we can always see a bright future for the 3D printing especially in the auto industry. Already vehicles are being made by means of fabricated manufacturing. Companies have already started exploring the application of this technology and already show some of the good uses of this printing technology.

Now what needs to be check is the cost of components to that of the quality as well as the price of the printing. It might become cheaper in some materials and others might cost more. There are no special tools required for 3D printing.

Despite the amount of effort is being put in this cost cutting manufacturing technology, it is quite clear that the vehicles will be available to the customers who are on the top of the line and it might be a long wait for the customers (average) to get their hands on it.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Injured Sea Turtle Gets 3D Printed Jaw


Sea Turtle Given 3-D Printed Prosthetic Jaw

A 45 kg loggerhead sea turtle has been given a 3-D printed prosthetic jaw, from the Dekamer Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre on the coast of Turkey. Akut-3, which has been named after the search and rescue team that found it, had been struck by the propeller of a boat and its jaws were nearly destroyed.

 This injury could prove to be fatal but Akut-3 was brought back to health by the Dekamer sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation centre. The sea turtle is one of the first of its kind to receive a 3-D printed prosthetic, after its success proclaimed on 14 May.

The turtle had been floating in the water back in July 2014 after being struck by the propeller of the passing boat where its injuries comprised of a fractured jaw where almost 60% of the lower and upper jaw towards the right side of his face was missing.

Where some humans tend to have a careless attitude to wildlife, there are others like those at Dekamer Centre who reach out in support and help them. The rehabilitation centre then contacted the Turkish company, BTech Innovation who is known for custom-making medical prosthetics and implants for humans, to seek its help.

Use of Mimics Innovation Suite

According to 3D Printing Industry, to improve the turtle’s prosthetic, the researchers took the CT scans of the skull of Akut-3 converting it into 3D models with the use of Mimics Innovation Suite. They printed a custom-fitted jaw and beak out of the titanium.

This was attached in surgery along with the help of surgeon and veterinarian with the use of Materialise’s 3-matic software developing a prosthetic which would be able to replace the part of the turtle’s face due to the injury.

This process appeared to work well and there seems to be no doubt with the improvement in the recovery of Akut-3.The turtle is presently convalescing at the recovery centre to make sure it has adjusted to the metal jaw which has been implanted. The beak which was made of medical grade titanium substituted the loggerhead turtles’ jaws which had been sheared off when it was struck by the passing boat.

Detailed Scan Aided in Generating Design 

With the help of detailed scans of the injured turtle’s head, it aided in generating the design of the prosthetic beak. The prosthetic was printed in medical grade titanium and sent to the surgical team where the same had been attached to the face of Akut-3.

After recovery from the anaesthetic, the turtle was in a position to move his jaw and is now recuperating on antibiotics to avoid any infection as the soft tissues of his face get attached to the prosthesis. Once it is fully recovered, Akut-3 would be returned to the sea to join the 47 other successful turtles that had been treated by the Dekamer Centre since its opening in 2009.

Besides the turtle that have been others too who have been benefitted from 3D printing, currently. There has been a tortoise in Denver who adapted to a prosthetic plastic shell made by a student at Colorado Technical University, when her original one had deteriorated because of poor diet.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Local Motors' 3D-printed car meets the Detroit Auto Show

Recently, Local Motors have showcased their 3D-Printed Car at the Auto Show. This is world’s first 3D-printed car and known as Strati, it is two-seater car, which is made up of plastic components and can reach the speed of 25 miles/hour.

Printing Process: 

This made in Detroit, Strati is two-seater car and it takes only 44 hours to print it. Crowdsources, a Phoenix-based company designs its cars, which look like the oddball Rally Fighter. Local Motors is responsible to build the Strati and brings on the floor of the North American International Auto Show, which is going to held in Detroit with all printing and routing equipment, which is here just for the occasion. The printing of this car takes only 44 hours, which in about two full working days after which all components including rough ones routed and polished to complete the final finishing look. According to Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers, first of three vehicles of Local Motors are ready to hit the market, whereas; each Strati will have the price range of $18,000 and $30,000. This two Seater car is made up of plastic components and it can hit the road with the speed up to 25 miles per hour.

About Local Motors Strati: 

The whole manufacturing and assembling process can be done in "micro-factory," of Local Motors, which is 40,000-square-foot space, containing everything needed to print, design, build, or sell a car. The company is planning to inaugurate its two micro-factories in 2015, one in near Washington, DC in National Harbor and another in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is expected that the DC location will breaks ground in the third quarter of 2015 where first fleet of 3D-printed cars will be sold. Factories are still looking for the approval because they need a local zoning law changes as per the Washington Post. As per few reports, the Strati is not yet legal for highway, and it can take few months to one year.

According to company officials, “We have arrived with small platform, but after setting up the winding course at Detroit’s Cobo Center, we have produced the passenger seats for the two-seater electric roadster. The two-seater Strati is powered up-by a Renault Twizy–sourced EV power-train which is fitted in to the 3D-printed body of car. Soon the company will test the car on modern tracks where the speed will vary between 10 to 25 mph with the comfortable conversation with the driver, but the car driver stated that car could made-up to 50 mph per hour and the car represent perfect golf car status.

This car were first showcased in September 2014, which was mostly constructed through 3D printing, which sounds like future-minded and gutsy as the part of a young ambitious company. According to reports, no one has done such things publicly till date. To actualize the process of 3D printed car, Local Motors had made a partnership with National Laboratory in Tennessee, where it has take four months to unveil, the Strati.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

3-D-Printing Bio-Electronic Parts

Print Functioning Circuitry from Semiconductors

With 3D printer making a prototype or spare part out of metal or polymer, researchers at Princeton University have taken a step in expanding the technology’s capabilities by creating a way in print functioning electronic circuitry out of semiconductors as well as other materials.

They are also trying ways of combining electronics with biocompatible materials and even living tissues that can pave the way for new implants. According to Michael McAlpine, assistant professor at Princeton states that with cartridges that are full of semiconductor `inks’, it can be possible to print circuits of all types of tasks and to demonstrate it, the researcher printed a light emitting diode within a contact lens.

The display circuitry and processors in computers do not have the provision to 3-D printing since they need several complex components fabricated on the nanoscale though it could be utilised in making medical devices or implants incorporating electronics.

 For instance, researchers could print a scaffold for growing nerve tissue according to McAlpine and suggests that if they could print LEDs with circuits within the scaffold, the light could stimulate the nerves where the electronics could be used to interface with prosthetic arm

3-D Printing – Bio-Electronic Ear

McAlpine had used 3-D printing last year, to make a `bio-electronic’ ear which was made from living cells together with supportive matrix of gooey hydrogel and had conductive ink which was made from a suspension of silver nanoparticles that formed an electrical coil and could receive radio signals.

Thereafter his group worked to expand 3-D printing to semiconducting materials which enables a printed device to process incoming sounds. Semiconductors seem to be the key ingredient of information processing circuits which can be used to detect as well as emit light.

McAlphine’s team, to broaden the 3-D printing palette, built its own printer and several of them in the market presently, are only designed to print plastic The bionic ear, for example had features on the millimetre scale. In order to make LEDs they had to go to the micrometre sale.

Quantum dots were taken to make the LED by the Princeton researcher, semiconducting nanoparticles which emitted bright light in response to electrical current. Besides this, two types of metal were also used to make electrical leads and contacts for the device together with polymers and silicone matrix in order to hold it together.

3-D Printing - Various Development 

While printing with so many inks, the challenge was that they bled into each other and hence the researchers had to ensure to suspend each material in a solvent which would not mix with either of them. His team had made a cube of eight green and orange LEDs which were stacked 2 x 2 x 2 and printed the LEDs on contact lens after they were scanned in order to make the shape of the printed devices matching to the curvature of the lens surface.

McAlpines’ team are not the only ones working in expanding the possibilities of 3-D printing. Chemical engineer, Michael Dickey from North Carolina State University in Raleigh who was not involved with McAlpines’ work, states that `most 3-D printing is like a glorified hot glue gun just printing polymers.

His group developed a liquid metal which can be printed into stretchable, self-healing wires while a professor of biologically inspired engineering at Harvard, Jennifer Lewis has developed 3-D printing for tissue engineering on combining various cell types in complex patterns including blood vessels.

Monday, 1 December 2014

3D Printers Can Copy Your Loved One's Head - As a Cremation Urn

Loved One's Head
3D technology has come along a long way from being able to create a 3 dimensional image of the fetus to using the 3D technology in the 3D printers. These printers are being used for a variety of the reasons like printing of shoe burgers to printing the cars according to the requirements of the customer.

The extent or the reach of 3D technology can be felt now when we can easily add the features and the shapes of your loved ones on the cremation urns. It might sound off or may have come as a surprise for many people, but believe it or not, Vermont-based Cremation Solutions are now offering 3D printed cremation urns which hare custom made according to the request. This cremation urn will have the image of the people you love. However, mind you, this imaging is not restricted to the people you love; you can get the image of your favorite celebrity or even Obama, the president of the United States of America.

What difference will it make? 

Vermont-based Cremation Solutions have come up with a unique solution for the people who are looking to honor their loved ones in a unique way and not going through the traditional metal or wooden urns, meant for storing the ashes. According to the information available on the company’s website, they are using the most modern technology to develop the urn, which will have the closest possible resemblance to the deceased one. This will be carried out by using photographs and other facial recognition software’s, which are meant to transform the 2D image into a 3D sculpture and that too with finesse. Adding to this advantage, the company also offers “erase blemishes”, to present your loved ones in the best possible look ever.

Cremation Urn

According to the Company, the urn will come in two different sizes. The first size is 6-inches, meant for storing only a portion of the remains of the deceased, but the second urn comes in a size of 11 inches with the potential of holding all the remains or ashes of a deceased person.

The 6-inch urn has been given the name of keepsake sized personal urn. By this time, we can clearly understand that these urns will not be easy on the pockets. The smallest size of the urn has been priced at $600 while the largest one can go up to $2600. On the downside, the hair of the person has not been included but the company has stated that they can add artificial hair to give the urns a more realistic look.

While it might sound strange, but a 3D printed urn clearly shows the growth in the technology. It has already been said that the world will change due to 3D technology and there will be a rise in business as more companies are focusing on matching the needs of the customers with their service.

The Company has also stated that they are offering the service for not only the deceased ones, but also for a person who can make their own urns as well. People always plan their cremation to take the burden away from their family and nothing will add to their memories than the urn reminding them about you.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

3D LED Printer Makes a Contact Lens Display Possible

3D LED Printed lens
3D Printed Contact Lenses 

According to researchers, 3D printed contact lenses can now be used like Google Glass or head up display showing the wearers’ data as well as monitor their health. 3D printer build up metallic or polymer material to form objects when instructed by computer code that conveys to the machine the desired dimension together with the appearance of the product, though this machine is more complex.

Researchers have started constructing prototypes for contact lens displays, and their biggest impediment was parts of fabrication which on a theoretical level is not difficult to build display in a contact lens but building and placing the tiny interrelated parts on a tiny polymer disk is a difficult task.

The 3D LED printer is a 3D quantum dot LED printer which on breaking the concept of an LED to its most basic form, researchers envisaged that they need not think of LEDs like small plastic light bulbs but stacks of interacting substance.

The printer on its part could lay down an LED with a sandwich type of a structure which is not unlike a single pixel in a display of OLED and get emissive layer which is nanoparticles of cadmium selenide that is referred to as quantum dots.

Active Approach

The quantum dots or nano sized crystals of certain substance exhibit unique or particular useful electronic properties. These are sandwiched between one layer which can donate electrons and one layer that accepts them and the entire process can be fused to a surface due to the bottom adhesive layer that is activated with the help of UV light.

Moreover, the printed LEDs are ultra-thin, almost transparent as well as flexible. The transfer of electrons through quantum dot layer causes the dots to produce photons of light and the main advantage of it is that they can be made to emit light at very specific wavelength or colours.

It means that the quantum dot screens can display more recreations of colour accurately but it would not be the first priority for contact lens display which will get static, sensible image in the user’s eye.The pixel on the other hand in a contact lens display could take one of two forms and the active approach uses individual pixel as a light source and emits photons in the eye, creating an image directly.

Passive Approach 

The passive approach on the other hand uses less power though it would be more difficult using individual pixel to bend the incoming light from the environment to portray a new picture on the retina. The issue with active approach is that it needs a good amount of power to go on and wireless power collection relies partially on physical size of the collecting antenna.

When the antenna must be physically fitted in a contact lens, it creates a hard upper limit on power supply. It is unlikely to start printing smartphone screens pixel by pixel since manufacturing in bulk would be quicker and cheaper and while doing so, things like putting LEDs in circular area of contact lens less than 2 mm, it could be helpful. The cost of the prototype print cost about $20,000 to create though there is a possibility in reduction of cost in the near future.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

3D Printed Heart saved Baby’s Life

3D Printing – Life Saving Surgery

Advanced technology has given rise to improvement in the digital world which has enhanced the life style to a great extent. 3D printing or additive manufacturing – AM can be referred to various processes in printing a 3 dimensional object.

3D Printed Heart
A 3D printer could be a type of industrial robot. This has also proved to be of immense help recently where surgeons used3D printed model of the infant’s unusual heart in preparation for life saving surgery.

These surgeons give credit to the 3D printing which helped them to save the life of a 2 weeks infant in need of complicated heart surgery. With the use of MRI scan data, the surgeons, at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, New York City, 3D printed a copy of the heart of the infant which was unusually structured and with holes for a surgery which would have been dangerous as well as complicating.

The 3D printed heart provided an opportunity to the surgeons in studying the organ and helped in developing a detailed surgery strategy. According to Dr Emile Bacha who performed the surgery, informed Connecticut local media that the infants’ heart had holes which was not uncommon with CHD though the chambers of the heart were also in unusual shape, like a maze.

Technique like a Road Map

This technique proved to be of immense help unlike the past instances wherein they had to stop the heart and look inside to decide what should be done. The technique helped like a road map in guiding them on and they were capable of repairing the child’s heart with a single operation.

Matthew’s Hearts of Hope had funded this project, which is a Connecticut based foundation and it is said that another 3D printed heart is in the pipeline, the details of which would be following somewhere next month. In normal situation, a surgeon views the heart for the first time when the chest is opened up, but now it is no longer the same. They now have the ability to plan the surgery much in advance on seeing a 3D Heart of an infant or a child.

3D Printing in Modern Machine

Another incident has also proved to be successful with this cutting edge medical technology where a Kentucky surgeon Erle Austin with the use of 3D printing was able to conduct the most difficult surgeries.

He had informed Maker Faire in Rome that he was using 3D printing to understand a complicated heart. Austin, like the surgeons at Morgan Stanley, had used the technology to know his approach to heart surgery at Kosair Children’s Hospital on a young child. Austin printed a copy of the heart in three parts with the use of experimental version of the Makerbot Replicator 2.

He stated that since he had an identical reconstruction he could take the front of the heart and see inside and thus make a plan on how to go about with the flow of blood and move the obstruction in the heart. The NHS is planning the use of 3D printing in modern machine while US is pioneering this high tech biomedical research and the Ministry of Defence has expressed interest in such a type of a project.

Friday, 7 March 2014

3D Printing Can Create Human Tissue To Heal Wounds

3D printers are able to manufacture spare parts for satellites, food and even human organs. Today, the world of fashion began to use 3D printing and designs luxurious rooms also. 3D printing is diversified more. This is explained by the improvement of materials incorporating different metals and materials such as plastic, wood or nylon. Jewelry and accessories 3D printed are already marketed. An Atlanta entrepreneur currently testing a printer that allows you to create unique garments from fabrics polymer material based on carbon.3D printers never cease to amaze us!

After the ability to print food, dentures or even houses, a new stage has been reached, that of bio-printing In other words, the creation of human tissues in 3D. The bio-printing is a matter of well-known research for the scientists and functional technology is already exists with pre-established patterns. The latter is however very demanding and allows no margin of error or modified during printing.

The apparatus used consists of two tanks containing stem cells bathed in culture medium. This method may be about to be replaced by another discovery by laboratories of Carnegie Mellon and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. It is based on the micro -robot capable of assembling different materials, in order to repair human tissues. Researchers led by Savas Tasoglu and Utkan Demirciont developed a hydrogel material a liquid portion and a solid portion similar to contact lenses which are found in living cells.

It is then necessary to control micro- robot remotely using magnetic fields capable of moving between different hydrogels to build cell structures. It is very difficult to realize that human tissue is composed of many types of cells operation. Scientists have still managed to catalog several materials they need to print in 3D to develop these structures such as copper rods, polystyrene beads, silicon chips and the famous hydrogels. The whole is dipped in a liquid to maintain the cells to be alive.

This approach is more accurate than the old method used previously when it comes to print components. It also makes it possible combining flexible and rigid materials together, all at a scale of the order of tens of microns of size, which is adjustable by the micro- robot. Metin Sitti, the professor of Mechanical engineering head of the Laboratory Nanrobitcs Carnegie Mellon told that their work will revolutionize the precision assembly of blocks of complex and heterogeneous tissues in three dimensions and facilitate the understanding of tissue engineering systems.

The encoding method and manipulation developed here may find wide applications in areas such as diagnostics, regenerative medicine, engineering micro physiological systems, pharmaceutical and biological research, and manufacture microscopic according to Utkan Demirci.

 The micro- robot can analyze cells, manipulate eliminate targets or change direction on a scale that we could not reach before and it can be regarded as a microscopic clamp capable of gripping and moving individual cells or groups in a 3D environment.