Extinct rhinos and 3D printing

http://ecowatch.com/2015/05/08/3d-printing-rhino-horns-stop-poaching/

rhinopopulation

Can 3D Printing Save Rhinos From Going Extinct?

With large-scale poaching causing the once-abundant rhino population to dip to extinction levels, one Seattle-based biotech startup has come up with a deceivingly simple idea to stave demand of the rhino’s coveted horns: fake it.

Pembient, founded earlier this year, is working with rhino horn powder in its labs in order to develop solid rhino horn substitutes, by “duplicating the cells, proteins and deposits in a rhino horn so the synthetic version is genetically similar to the real thing,” the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

The fascinating part? They’re doing it by using 3D printing. Making something go from this …

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To this … (the one in the middle is the fake one)

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It’s unclear how exactly Pembient’s making the products, but as TechCrunch explained, “Rhino horns are composed of a specific kind of keratin protein. Pembient figured out the genetic code and was then able to reproduce the horns using the keratin in a 3D-printing technique.”

After Pembient CEO Matthew Markus showed a TechCrunch reporter one of their horn prototypes, Markus said, “You can’t physically tell the difference. No one looking at this could tell this wasn’t from a rhino. It’s the same thing. For all intents and purposes, this is a real rhino horn.”

Rhino horns are used in traditional Chinese medicine and are considered a cure-all for many types of illnesses, driving a devastating global black market. Pembient’s goal is to replace this illegal, $20 billion wildlife trade with fabricated wildlife products, such as rhino horn and elephant ivory, at prices below the levels that induce poaching.

“We surveyed users of rhino horn and found that 45 percent of them would accept using rhino horn made from a lab,” said Pembient. “In comparison, only 15 percent said they would use water buffalo horn, the official substitute for rhino horn.”

Markus also told New Scientist that Vietnamese rhino horn users have said that Pembient’s manufactured rhino powder has a similar smell and feel to wild rhino horns. If all goes to plan, the fake horns could be on the market by next fall at a tenth of the price of illegal ones, the publication reported.

However, conservationists have pointed out that the company’s plan doesn’t placate global demand for real rhino horns, especially in countries where it’s considered a status symbol to own one.

rhino

“The synthetic horns will not have an impact on current rhino horn users that want real horns from dead rhinos,” Douglas Hendrie, technical advisor at Education for Nature–Vietnam told New Scientist.

We’ve seen 3D printers do some pretty incredible things, from “printing” sustainable food to tackling plastic waste. Can this new technology help save the rhino?

ecowatch.com

by  | May 8, 2015 9:15 am

Inspirations by nature

A Futuristic Concept Car Inspired by Nature

http://www.popsci.com/3d-printed-car-inspired-leaf-plant

German engineering firm EDAG took inspiration from the leaf of a plant for its 3D-printed Light Cocoon concept car, which debuts at the Geneva Motor Show, open to the public through March 15.

Rather than printing the entire body shell of the vehicle out of a rigid composite material, as startup Local Motors is doing with its 3D-printed cars, EDAG instead created a lightweight metal structure optimized to use material only where absolutely necessary.

This 3D-printed skeleton is so strong that it doesn’t require traditional sheet metal panels for strength. Instead, a much lighter, high-tech waterproof fabric from German outdoor apparel company Jack Wolfskin envelopes the rigid structure. This triple-layer polyester jersey fabric, called Texapore Softshell O2+, is stretchy and allows light from LEDs underneath to pass through, creating a cool visual effect.

EDAG says the Light Cocoon’s novel construction is much lighter than conventional steel or aluminum body panels, but it did not say by how much.

The company first came up with the spiderweb-like construction method of the Light Cocoon concept car when engineering an aluminum hood for a production vehicle (it didn’t say for which automaker), whereby a network of hollow tubes under the sheet metal provided support and rigidity. This construction method met all necessary stiffness and crash requirements, yet was 25 percent lighter than a conventional car hood, EDAG says.

Though a vehicle based on the Light Cocoon is not likely to see production, EDAG did say that it will continue to refine its 3D printing methods. The company plans to show several car hoods made out of various materials using different additive manufacturing methods at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

“With the futuristic concept of our EDAG Light Cocoon, we hope to stimulate the discussion about the future of lightweight construction and automobile production,” said EDAG CEO Jörg Ohlsen, in a statement announcing the concept car.

The Geneva Motor Show opened to the public March 5 following two press preview days. It runs through March 15.

POPSCI.COM
by Matthew de Paula | March 6, 2015

3D printed garden !

Time to spruce up those boring city rooftops! 3D printed gardens are now becoming a thing of the present! 🙂

http://www.businessinsider.com/3d-print-plants-for-city-gre…

Patrick Blanc vertical garden

Too many city rooftops are barren, grey, and boring. Computer scientist Yuichiro Takeuchi, who works with the Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. is out to change that.Takeuchi has found a way to print gardens filled with herbs and flowers. These gardens can then be planted on rooftops, or pretty much anywhere.

He uses a 3D printer and software that he designed to print yarn encasements that hold plant seeds that grow in to full-fledged plants in just a few weeks. His 3D printing technology can print gardens that conform to any shape you choose be it, triangular, rectangular, or even panda-shaped:

3d printing garden

The way Takeuchi’s method works is to first design your shape on a computer. Then you feed that design into the 3D printer, which prints yarn in the shape of your choosing.

Yuichiro Takeuchi, Sony Computer Science Laboratories3D printer prints felt in the shape you choose.

Once the 3D printer is finished, an attachment to the printer dispenses tiny seeds into the yarn.

Seed-dispenser attached to 3D printer releases seeds into felt.

Takeuchi’s approach hinges on a method called hydroponics where you grow plants with mineral nutrient material in place of soil. This is how some of those amazing vertical gardens are grown, like this one in France designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc.

Creations like the one above can run commissioners $1000 per square meter. Although it might be less expensive to build one yourself, it takes a lot of time and care. High prices and long hours of manual labor are the two factors that are hindering large-scale adoption and preventing greener cities, Takeuchi told Business Insider in an email interview. But 3D printing could be the key.

“The printing solution takes away much of those hurdles, and also provides a high degree of flexibility (one can print out a garden that fits snugly into any designated space) which hopefully will make hydroponic gardening more attractive for citizen living in dense cities with limited space,” said Takeuchi.

Takeuchi presented his ideas for a greener future last month at the Sony CSL symposium, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Right now, Takeuchi can grow relatively small plants, like watercress and herbs such as arugula and basil. Below is an image of one of the plants he grew in about one month:

3d printing plant

In the future, Takeuchi wants to print yarn encasements large enough to grow fruits, vegetables, and trees. His current 3D printer is too slow for that large a scale, but he’s spending the next year on building a bigger, faster printer.

3d print plant

Ultimately, Takeuchi envisions his city of residence, Tokyo, lush with blooming rooftops. Plants have proven to increase productivity in the office and they’re ability to suck up carbon dioxide and output oxygen is one way cities could help mitigate their carbon footprint.

Takeuchi is interested in transforming Tokyo rooftops for another special reason, however:

“Here in Japan we love fireflies (they have a special cultural significance), but as they can only thrive in pristine environments we don’t see them in dense, built-up Tokyo,” he said. “I’m hoping that by installing a number of printed gardens on rooftops and walls throughout Tokyo, I can someday bring back fireflies to my neighborhood.”

Below is a a before and after image of what Takeuchi hopes to achieve, which he presented at the Sony CSL symposium:

greenroofs 3d printing

Before and after comparison of what rooftops currently look like and what they could look like in the future.

BUSINESSINSIDER.COM
by  | Oct. 23, 2014, 3:18 PM