3D printed eggs used to study the art of deception among birds

http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/6777/20150528/scientists-use-3d-printed-eggs-to-study-the-art-of-deception-among-birds.htm

Scientists Use 3D Printed Eggs to Study the Art of Deception among Birds

3D printing has already established itself within the scientific community. It’s been used to produce tools aboard the International Space Station, replicate body parts for surgical procedures, and now it’s found a new niche among biologists studying bird behavior. It turns out, 3D printers produce mighty fine eggs.

Animal behaviorists at Hunter College of the City University of New York are using 3D printers to produce eggs used in experiments that examine nesting behavior among birds. They’re particularly interested in brood parasites – birds that lay their eggs in other birds’ nests, for the behavior of such birds offers insight into the evolutionary arms race between species.

Successful brood parasites are well-adapted to their deceptive practice, laying eggs that resemble those whose nests they target for takeover. But the foster birds have evolved means of detecting such eggs, based on their size, shape, color, and pattern, and will cast them out of the nests when the interlopers are identified.

“Hosts of brood parasites vary widely in how they respond to parasitic eggs, and this raises lots of cool questions about egg mimicry, the visual system of birds, the ability to count, cognitive rules about similarity, and the biomechanics of picking things up,” says Prof. Don Dearborn, chair of the Biology Department at Bates College, a brood parasitism expert who was not involved in the 3D printing study.

Biologists have been studying brood parasitic behavior for decades, but it was always a challenge to produce realistic eggs for use in their experiments. They tried a variety of materials, such as wood and plaster, but the eggs were expensive and time consuming to produce and a challenge to reproduce consistently.

And that’s where the 3D printers come in.

The scientists from Hunter College used a 3D printer to produce model eggs based on those of the Brown-headed Cowbirds, a North American brood parasite. Some eggs were painted beige to match real cowbird eggs; other were painted blue-green to match eggs of the American robin, a typical target of cowbirds. They were able to fill the model eggs with water or gel, so that the eggs retained the weight and properties of real eggs.

Their experiments were a rousing success. The robins accepted 100% of the blue-green eggs while they rejected 79% of the beige eggs. Similar results were achieved using plaster eggs, but the 3D printed eggs are more consistent and easier to produce. And since they are based on digital models, it makes for easy sharing across scientific communities, which improves the reproducibility of experiments.

“For decades, tackling these questions has meant making your own fake eggs — something we all find to be slow, inexact, and frustrating,” says Dearborn. “This study uses 3D printing for a more nuanced and repeatable egg-making process, which in turn will allow more refined experiments on host-parasite coevolution. I’m also hopeful that this method can be extended to making thin-shelled, puncturable eggs, which would overcome another one of the constraints on these kinds of behavioral experiments.”

“3D printing technology is not just in our future – it has already revolutionized medical and basic sciences,” says Mark Hauber, an animal behaviorist at Hunter College and the study’s senior author. “Now it steps out into the world of wild birds, allowing standardized egg rejection experiments to be conducted throughout the world.”

sciencetimes.com

by May 28, 2015 11:29 PM EDT

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Habitats for deep space missions

http://gadgets.ndtv.com/science/news/nasa-3d-printing-competition-to-help-design-habitats-for-deep-space-missions-693876

nasa_office_reuters.jpg

Nasa 3D Printing Competition to Help Design Habitats for Deep Space Missions

The US space agency has announced a new $2.25 million (roughly Rs. 14 crores) competition to design and build a 3D-printed habitat for deep space exploration, including Mars.

Along with the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (known as America Makes), Nasahas devised the multi-phase 3D Printed Habitat Challenge to advance the additive construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.

It is part of Nasa’s Centennial Challenges programme.

“The future possibilities for 3D printing are inspiring and the technology is extremely important to deep space exploration,” said Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges programme manager.

“This challenge definitely raises the bar from what we are currently capable of and we are excited to see what the maker community does with it,” he added in a Nasa statement.

In the first phase of the competition, participants are to develop state-of-the-art architectural concepts that take advantage of the unique capabilities 3D printing offers.

The top 30 submissions will be judged and a prize purse of $50,000 (roughly Rs. 31.5 lakhs) will be awarded at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York.

The second phase of the competition is divided into two levels.

Level 1 focuses on the fabrication technologies needed to manufacture structural components from a combination of indigenous materials and recyclables, or indigenous materials alone.

Level 2 challenges competitors to fabricate full-scale habitats using indigenous materials or indigenous materials combined with recyclables.

Both levels carry a $1.1 million (roughly Rs. 7 crores) prize each.

Winning concepts and products will help Nasa build the technical expertise to send habitat-manufacturing machines to distant destinations, such as Mars, to build shelters for the human explorers who follow.

“We believe that 3D printing has the power to fundamentally change the way people approach design and construction for habitats, both on earth and off, and we are excitedly awaiting submissions from all types of competitors,” said Ralph Resnick, founding director of America Makes.

References:

gadgets.ndtv.com

http://gadgets.ndtv.com/science/news/nasa-3d-printing-competition-to-help-design-habitats-for-deep-space-missions-693876

First zero-gravity 3D printer!

Europe is set to send its first 3D printer into the final frontier this year to experiment with zero-gravity manufacturing on long space voyages.

The European Space Agency plans to deliver its new Portable On-Board 3D Printer (POP3D for short) to the International Space Station by the end of June, making it the second3D printer in space. The diminutive 3D printer is a cube that measures just under 10 inches (25 centimeters) per side and requires a small amount of power to operate.

“The POP3D Portable On-Board Printer is a small 3D printer that requires very limited power and crew involvement to operate,” said Luca Enrietti of Altran, prime contractor for the compact printer, in an ESA statement. [10 Ways 3D Printing Will Transform Space Travel]

In order to ensure the printer does not affect the space crew’s environment, Altran designed the machine to use a heat-based printing method and a harmless, biodegradable plastic.

The printer will be tested by Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA as part of her Futura mission on the International Space Station. She is one of six crewmembers currently living on the orbiting lab.

Europe’s Pop3D printer won’t be the first of additive manufacturing tool to reach space.

Last September, the California-based company Made In Space sent a 3D printer to the space station as part of a NASA experiment. That machine has already printed parts for itself and printed a working ratchet tool from a design beamed into space from Earth.

Made In Space’s 3D-printed objects, as well as anything POP3D produces, will eventually be returned to Earth and compared with identical items made with 3D printers on the ground. The comparison should help scientists determine whether 3D printed objects made in space work as well as they do on Earth.

Altran Portable On-Board 3D Printer

If the innovative approach to space manufacturing works, its implications could be vast for future space exploration, ESA and NASA scientists have said. The concept for Pop3D was unveiled last October during a conference attended by 350 3D printing experts from across Europe

The technology could allow astronauts to print delicate tools in space that could not otherwise survive the stresses of launching into space, Altran representatives explained.It could also reduce the need to pack spare parts on resupply missions, as well as lower total number of parts needed both on a spacecraft or the space station, therefore lowering the overall cost of spaceflight.

“In the case of a complex injector of a rocket engine, we are able to take the total number of parts needed from around 250 down to one or two,” one space 3D-printing advocate Steffen Beyer, head of Materials and Process Technology at Airbus Defence and Space, said in the ESA statement. “That represents a revolution in design and manufacturing.”

SPACE.COM
by Kasandra Brabaw, Space.com Contributor   |   January 30, 2015 11:02am ET

3D printing revolutionizing electronics

Another leap forward in the 3D printing of electronics: 3D printing of graphene batteries!!!

If perfected, this technology could shrink the physical size of batteries, leading to new and exciting design possibilities for electronic equipment of all kinds! 🙂

http://3dprint.com/13788/3d-printed-graphene-batteries/

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One of the more common questions I hear, from those just beginning to find an interest in the 3D printing space, goes something like this: “When will we be able to 3D print a smartphone?”

Although such a thought brings up ideas and visions written about in popular science fiction novels, more than likely over the next couple of decades such a feat will in fact be plausible. The rate of advancement we are seeing within the 3D printing space is astonishing, to put it mildly. Every day new breakthroughs are being achieved, and ideas which seemed impossible only a few short years ago are becoming commonplace.

There has already been several successful attempts at 3D printing electronic components and circuitry, and progress is being made in the area of multimaterial printing. One area which will need to advance before we see complex portable electronics being fabricate through additive manufacturing, is that of battery manufacturing. The 3D printing of a battery isn’t a new concept.

There have been attempts and mild successes in the past, however, one company may be on the verge of a breakthrough.

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Yesterday, Graphene 3D Lab Inc.announced that they have filed a provisional patent application related to 3D printable batteries, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The batteries, which are based on the super material known as graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms, could outperform even some of the best energy storage devices on the market today, according to the company.

“The application filed by Graphene 3D has the potential to play an important role in achieving the ability to print electronic devices due to the necessity of providing a power source,” stated Daniel Stolyarov, CEO of Graphene 3D. “Expanding our IP portfolio in this area is an important step in keeping with Graphene 3D’s primary goal of creating an ecosystem for 3D printing functional devices with advanced materials.”

The Vancouver based company, which is a spinout from Graphene Laboratories, Inc, focuses their efforts on the development and manufacturing of materials for 3D printing which have been enhanced with graphene. They are not alone in trying to merge the areas of additive manufacturing with that of graphene. In fact, there are several companies who are actively working on 3D printer filaments which are infused with super material, as well as other applications for the graphene within the 3D printing space. A 3D printed graphene based battery, however, could be even a bigger game changer for several industries. The ability to 3D print a battery allows for custom shapes to be introduced into the world of electronics where companies are trying to cram as many components into the smallest space possible.

“A 3D printed battery can be incorporated into a 3D printed object during the building process,” explained Stolyarov. “In addition, 3D printed batteries have several advantages over traditional batteries. Their shape, size and specifications can be freely adjusted to fit the particular design of the device. Our batteries are based on graphene and can potentially outperform conventional batteries. Graphene 3D plans to perform live demonstrations of our 3D printed batteries.”

It will be interesting to see how far along the company is, and just what they have achieved. The date of such a demonstration has yet to be announced. Let’s hear your thoughts on this possible game changing application for 3D printing in the 3D printed battery forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3DPRINT.COM
by  | SEPTEMBER 3, 2014

3D scanning technology

Although EA Sports have made their models look quite similar to their players, they claim that they now look completely identical in FIFA 2015. This was made possible using 3D scanning

To show how identical they are, they 3D printed their scans of Eriksen, Hazard, Aguero and Lambert, in what is probably the most high-profile of 3D scanning and printing, just to show off a little.


http://3dprint.com/12515/ea-sports-3d-scanning-heads/

Incredible EA Sports Scanning Technology

3D scanning has been gaining steam within the 3D printing space, over the past several months. It seems as though every week we are reporting on yet another company that is using 3D scanning to create life-like replicas of people. 3D scanning technology has reached a point where it is now capable of creating digital replicas of faces, objects, and even internal body tissue.

For those familiar with EA Sports‘ video games, you can probably attest to the fact that each and every year, the players within their games become more and more realistic looking. Individual players look and move almost identical to how they appear in real life. This is a testament to the increasing precision in high tech 3D scanners.

For their upcoming game, EA Sports FIFA 15, which will be released on September 26th, the company decided to show off the tremendous abilities that their 3D scanners have, by teaming up with a company called 3DPRINTUK and having them 3D print four different Premier League players from scans that they have been using to model the players for their latest game.

“We love a challenge, and when we were given a timescale of just over a week to get them printed, we were given one (a challenge),” explained 3DPRINTUK to 3DPrint.com. “Heads are big you see, almost as big as our build tray, and we had to ensure that we could fulfill all of the other orders we had.”

EA Sports used their 3D scanning technology to model the heads of over 200 Premier League players, in order to make them appear more lifelike than ever before. In previous games players have looked similar to their real-life selves, but not almost identical, like you can expect to see when FIFA 15 hits the shelves later next month.

Tottenham Hotspur player Christian Eriksen, with his 3D printed head

“The players were scanned and, after some clever wizardry (it’s not as easy as scan and go), you have a complete 3D surface,” 3DPRINTUK told us. “If the scan is good, we will open it at our end and Magics, the STL correction software we use for checking files, will show a pretty perfect file which we can then add a thickness to. These heads were hollow, printed with a 4mm thickness, strong enough to drop on the floor and bounce with no damage to the players.”

Tottenham Hotspur player Christian Eriksen and his 3D printed head.

Once printed on 3DPRINTUK’s industrial levelEOS P100 SLS 3D printers, using PA2200 Nylon, they were then painted by two top model painters. As you can see in the photos they came out amazing. The four players printed were Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Man City’s Sergio Aguero, and Liverpool’s Ricky Lambert.

“This is the most high profile use of 3D scanning we have seen in the games’ industry and it was a great privilege to work on a project that shows the capabilities not only of 3D scanners and ever evolving software, but also of 3DPRINTUK and our trusty SLS printers,” explained 3DPRINTUK. “We were told that the players were going to be posing with their 3D printed heads over the course of the season.”

Tottenham Hotspur player Christian Eriksen with his painted 3D printed head (left) and unpainted (right).

EA Sports has always been a step ahead of the game, and this latest 3D scanning technology that they are utilizing, is without a doubt yet another example of such. This is why they have been able to remain atop the video game industry for 23 years. Let us know what you think about these scans, and the realistic looking 3D printed heads in the EA Sports 3D Scanning technology forum thread on 3DPB.com.

(image source: EA Sports)

3DPRINT.COM
by  | AUGUST 20, 2014