Zhang Zhoujie’s digital vessel
Japan-based startup Fotofig has started a special 3D printing service that allows you to create mini figurines of your friends and loved ones.
3D printing changes the way we look at design and manufacturing. With no tooling involved, it allows us to make one-off products with shapes that are impossible to achieve through traditional manufacturing methods. The manufacturing process is done entirely in the USA, which allows us to help bring jobs back to our struggling economy. (via Protos Eyewear)
Disney Research has detailed a new technology that will allow robots to have expressive eyes. Based on the 3D printing tech Disney announced last year, Papillon uses bundles of printed optical fibers to guide light. By hooking the output end of the bundle up to a robot’s eye, researchers were able to project an image from the receiving end of the bundle and have it appear at the other end.
CFM International, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial airline engines, is using some 3D-printed components to help improve the fuel efficiency of its new line of jet engines by 15 percent. (via 3D-printed jet engine parts help increase fuel efficiency by 15 percent | The Verge)
This new technology is being called biofabrication and its ultimate aim is the 3-D printing of entire human organs. Traditional 3-D printing is a machine process in which an ultra-fine nozzle extrudes particles - usually of plastic or metal - and micro-layer by micro-layer creates a 3-D object. Biofabrication adopts this process but uses living cells rather than plastic or metal as its building blocks.
Biofabrication scientists have already 3-D-printed human blood vessels using stem cells first cultured in a lab to grow into blood vessel cells and loaded them into a 3-D bioprinter. Because the stem cells are taken from the patient who will receive the blood vessels, it’s hoped that rejection of the new vessels will be unlikely. Now scientists plan to put the blood vessels through human clinical trials to prove that it is functional and able to grow, paving the way to a future in which damaged blood vessels can be treated with 3-D-printed replacements.
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A 3D-printed implant was used to replace 75 percent of a man’s skull in a surgical procedure earlier this week. The prosthetic was constructed using an additive printing process, and was implanted following manufacturer Oxford Performance Materials receiving FDA approval to use the technology last month.
Setting up a lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials. Industrial partners including renowned architects Foster Partners have joined with ESA to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil. (via Building a lunar base with 3D printing / Technology / Our Activities / ESA)
Contour Crafting uses what is essentially a giant 3D printer that hangs over the space the home will occupy, building up the walls using layers of concrete. The machine can add plumbing and electrical wiring as it goes, leaving a completed shell needing just windows and doors to complete. There are even ways to robotically paint the walls and add tiling to floors and walls. (via Build a custom home in 20 hours using a giant 3D printer | DVICE)