3D printing microscopic fish

http://phys.org/news/2015-08-3d-printing-microscopic-fish-team-method.html

These microscopic fish are 3-D-printed to do more than swim

3D-printing microscopic fish: Team demonstrates novel method to build robots with complex shapes, functionalities

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego used an innovative 3D printing technology they developed to manufacture multipurpose fish-shaped microrobots—called microfish—that swim around efficiently in liquids, are chemically powered by hydrogen peroxide and magnetically controlled. These proof-of-concept synthetic microfish will inspire a new generation of “smart” microrobots that have diverse capabilities such as detoxification, sensing and directed drug delivery, researchers said.

The technique used to fabricate the microfish provides numerous improvements over other methods traditionally employed to create microrobots with various locomotion mechanisms, such as microjet engines, microdrillers and microrockets. Most of these microrobots are incapable of performing more sophisticated tasks because they feature simple designs—such as spherical or cylindrical structures—and are made of homogeneous inorganic materials. In this new study, researchers demonstrated a simple way to create more complex microrobots.

The research, led by Professors Shaochen Chen and Joseph Wang of the NanoEngineering Department at the UC San Diego, was published in the Aug. 12 issue of the journal Advanced Materials.

By combining Chen’s 3D printing technology with Wang’s expertise in microrobots, the team was able to custom-build microfish that can do more than simply swim around when placed in a solution containing hydrogen peroxide. Nanoengineers were able to easily add functional nanoparticles into certain parts of the microfish bodies. They installed platinum nanoparticles in the tails, which react with to propel the microfish forward, and magnetic in the heads, which allowed them to be steered with magnets.

“We have developed an entirely new method to engineer nature-inspired microscopic swimmers that have complex geometric structures and are smaller than the width of a human hair. With this method, we can easily integrate different functions inside these tiny robotic swimmers for a broad spectrum of applications,” said the co-first author Wei Zhu, a nanoengineering Ph.D. student in Chen’s research group at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego.

These microscopic fish are 3-D-printed to do more than swim

As a proof-of-concept demonstration, the researchers incorporated toxin-neutralizing nanoparticles throughout the bodies of the microfish. Specifically, the researchers mixed in polydiacetylene (PDA) nanoparticles, which capture harmful pore-forming toxins such as the ones found in bee venom. The researchers noted that the powerful swimming of the microfish in solution greatly enhanced their ability to clean up toxins. When the PDA nanoparticles bind with toxin molecules, they become fluorescent and emit red-colored light. The team was able to monitor the detoxification ability of the microfish by the intensity of their red glow.

“The neat thing about this experiment is that it shows how the microfish can doubly serve as detoxification systems and as toxin sensors,” said Zhu.

“Another exciting possibility we could explore is to encapsulate medicines inside the microfish and use them for directed drug delivery,” said Jinxing Li, the other co-first author of the study and a nanoengineering Ph.D. student in Wang’s research group.

These microscopic fish are 3-D-printed to do more than swim

How this new 3D printing technology works

The new microfish fabrication method is based on a rapid, high-resolution 3D printing technology called microscale continuous optical printing (μCOP), which was developed in Chen’s lab. Some of the benefits of the μCOP technology are speed, scalability, precision and flexibility. Within seconds, the researchers can print an array containing hundreds of microfish, each measuring 120 microns long and 30 microns thick. This process also does not require the use of harsh chemicals. Because the μCOP technology is digitized, the researchers could easily experiment with different designs for their microfish, including shark and manta ray shapes.

“With our 3D , we are not limited to just fish shapes. We can rapidly build microrobots inspired by other biological organisms such as birds,” said Zhu.

The key component of the μCOP technology is a digital micromirror array device (DMD) chip, which contains approximately two million micromirrors. Each micromirror is individually controlled to project UV light in the desired pattern (in this case, a fish shape) onto a photosensitive material, which solidifies upon exposure to UV light. The microfish are built using a photosensitive material and are constructed one layer at a time, allowing each set of functional nanoparticles to be “printed” into specific parts of the fish bodies.

“This method has made it easier for us to test different designs for these microrobots and to test different nanoparticles to insert new functional elements into these tiny structures. It’s my personal hope to further this research to eventually develop surgical that operate safer and with more precision,” said Li.

More information: “3D-Printed Artificial Microfish” by Wei Zhu, Jinxing Li, Yew J. Leong, Isaac Rozen, Xin Qu, Renfeng Dong, Zhiguang Wu, Wei Gao, Peter H. Chung, Joseph Wang, and Shaochen Chen, all of the Department of NanoEngineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. This paper was featured as a cover on the Aug. 12, 2015 issue of the journal Advanced Materials. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/adma.201501372/abstract

 

 

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3D printed beef slices?

http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/do-you-still-need-cows-if-you-can-3d-print-beef-slices

Do you still need cows, if you can 3D print beef slices?

Two scientists look at how Singapore is preparing to embrace two leading technologies – 3D printing and robotics.

Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing, as it is more commonly known, is a term that is becoming more familiar, used not only by large corporations and institutions but also smaller enterprises and even individuals.

Simply put, 3D printing refers to processes that produce a 3D part from a computer-aided design model by adding materials successively, usually in a layer-by-layer fashion. These materials can be made of paper, plastic, metal or even organic materials such as tissue from cells.

3D printing in itself is not new. It has been used for over three decades, such as for printing out prototypes for designs or architectural works. But today, its usage has expanded beyond prototyping. Many industries and people now use 3D printing to make things they want, which include producing unmanned aerospace vehicles (UAVs) used in Aerospace and Defence.

As technology continues to develop and become more widespread, we are led to potentially discover new or more extensive benefits to society. In building and construction, the ability to print complicated design structures within a shorter time and with fewer resources would help to reduce housing shortage in countries like Singapore. Globally, this could also help disaster-struck countries to quickly rebuild affected communities.

Due to its game-changing potential, AM or 3D printing is forecast by The Economist magazine to be the third Industrial Revolution.

Today, manufacturers are already witnessing the positive impact of 3D printing technology in terms of enabling greater customisation while reducing costs and waste.

As products are manufactured on demand, this reduces tooling costs and the need to maintain a massive product inventory typical of traditional manufacturing methods.

From a business perspective, we also see companies evolving towards more flexible and cost-effective business models. Some may choose to focus solely on design and leave customers to manufacture the actual product. Conversely, smaller players can now manufacture their own products instead of relying on larger manufacturing chains. Along with lower investment costs and risks, this has opened doors and created opportunities for new entrants within the manufacturing field. These will shake up manufacturing as we know it today.

Companies that now produce spare parts or equipment for big manufacturers may find themselves squeezed out if the manufacturers find it more worthwhile to 3D print the parts themselves.

Shipping too can change, if ships carry their own 3D machines to print parts, or 3D print their own supplies, eliminating the need to stop at ports for repairs and resupplies.

Even space travel can be revolutionised: One exciting area of potential application is 3D printing in space, which can be used to produce necessities such as food as well as essential tools and spare parts necessary for extensive space missions.

Over the coming decades, 3D printing technology certainly has tremendous potential to revolutionise our next phase of development.

The promise of bioprinting – or the printing of live tissue – is immense. This potentially allows us to 3D print a new organ for transplant. Bioprinting has the eventual goal of improving the quality of life whether for transplant patients or for society at large.

It also has clear applications in food. After all, 3D printing allows us to produce meat for consumption by printing them with layers of animal tissue – without the need for animal husbandry or slaughter.

Bioprinting food will also minimise the risk of diseases such as mad cow disease or bird flu by eliminating the need to rear livestock for human consumption.

With the aim of empowering the average home user, the Blacksmith Group invented the Blacksmith Genesis, the world’s first 3D printer-cum-scanner. As compact as a home printer, the Blacksmith Genesis allows users to scan, edit and print any item up to 6,650 cubic cm in 3D easily. This user-friendly device enables users without much knowledge of 3D software to engineer their own products.

The Blacksmith Group is a spin-off from the Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) newly established Singapore Centre for 3D Printing (SC3DP).

Supported by Singapore’s National Research Foundation, SC3DP was set up to drive research and collaboration towards growing Singapore’s 3D printing capabilities for the aerospace and defence, building and construction, marine and offshore and manufacturing industries.

Taking it one step further is 4D printing, which refers to the printing of three-dimensional materials with properties that will transform according to external or environmental stimuli, such as time, temperature or humidity.

Possible applications that would prove useful are using it to print the soles of shoes or sofas which can then be easily manipulated to fit the shapes and sizes of human bodies.

4D printing might also be useful for printing structures for transporting across dramatically different environments, such as from earth to space. In this case, imagine if we could print a piece of furniture in a compact format that can be subsequently assembled into a larger, complex structure in space.

Given the rate at which 3D printing technology is progressing, it is not difficult to envision that 50 years from now, we could be living in 3D printed houses, travelling on 3D printed airplanes, wearing 3D printed garments, consuming 3D printed food and much more.

The possibilities are limitless.

  • Professor Chua Chee Kai is the Executive Director, Singapore Centre for 3D Printing, at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University.

References:

straitstimes.com

http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/do-you-still-need-cows-if-you-can-3d-print-beef-slices

MIT’s glass 3D printer

http://gizmodo.com/watching-mits-glass-3d-printer-is-absolutely-mesmerizin-1725433454

Watching MIT's Glass 3D Printer Is Absolutely Mesmerizing

Watching MIT’s Glass 3D Printer Is Absolutely Mesmerizing

MIT’s Mediated Matter Group made a video showing off their first of its kind optically transparent glass printing process. It will soothe your soul.

Called G3DP (Glass 3D Printing) and developed in collaboration with MIT’s Glass Lab, the process is an additive manufacturing platform with dual heated chambers. The upper chamber is a “Kiln Cartridge,” operating at a mind-boggling 1900°F, while the lower chamber works to anneal (heat then cool in order to soften the glass). The special 3D printer is not creating glass from scratch, but rather working with the preexisting substance, then layering and building out fantastical shapes like a robot glassblower.

It’s wonderfully soothing to watch in action—and strangely delicious-looking. “Like warm frosting,” my colleague Andrew Liszewski confirmed. “Center of the Earth warm frosting.”

gizmodo.com

by Kaila Hale-Stern |  8/20/15 4:30pm

Help of 3D printing for robots!

http://time.com/3957156/3d-printing-robot-help/

stairs

How 3D Printing Helps Robots Tackle Their Greatest Obstacle

One of the main challenges for robots is still traveling efficiently over rugged surfaces.

We’ve long attempted to recreate living creatures in robot form. From the very early age of robotics, there have been attempts to reproduce systems similar to human arms and hands. This has been extended to flexible and mobile platforms reproducing different animals from dogs to snakes to climbing spider octopods, and even entire humanoids.

One of the key actions performed by animals from mantises to kangaroos is jumping. But incorporating a jumping mechanism into autonomous robots requires much more effort from designers. One of the main challenges for robots is still travelling efficiently over rugged surfaces and obstacles. Even the simple task of going up or down a staircase has proven to be rather difficult for robot engineers.

A jumping robot could provide access to areas that are inaccessible to traditional mobile wheeled or legged robots. In the case of some search-and-rescue or exploration missions, in collapsed buildings for example, such a robot might even be preferable to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or quadcopter “drones.”

There has been increasing research in the robotics field to take on the challenges of designing a mobile platform capable of jumping. Different techniques have been implemented for jumping robots such as using double jointed hydraulic legs or a carbon dioxide-powered piston to push the robot off the ground. Other methods include using “shape memory alloy” – metal that alters its shape when heated with electrical current to create a jumping force – and even controlled explosions. But currently there is no universally accepted standard solution to this complex task.

A new approach explored by researchers at the University of California San Diego and Harvard University uses a robot with a partially soft body. Most robots have largely rigid frames incorporating sensors, actuators and controllers, but a specific branch of robotic design aims to make robots that are soft, flexible and compliant with their environment – just like biological organisms. Soft frames and structures help to produce complex movements that could not be achieved by rigid frames.

The new robot was created using 3D printing technology to produce a design that seamlessly integrates rigid and soft parts. The main segment comprises two hemispheres nestled inside one inside the other to create a flexible compartment. Oxygen and butane are injected into the compartment and ignited, causing it to expand and launching the robot into the air. Pneumatic legs are used to tilt the robot body in the intended jump direction.

Unlike many other mechanisms, this allows the robot to jump continuously without a pause between each movement as it recharges. For example, a spring-and-clutch mechanism would require the robot to wait for the spring to recompress and then release. The downside is that this mechanism would be difficult to mass-manufacture because of its reliance on 3D printing.

The use of a 3D printer to combine the robot’s soft and hard elements in a single structure is a big part of what makes it possible. There are now masses of different materials for different purposes in the world of 3D printing, from flexible NinjaFlex to high-strength Nylon and even traditional materials such as wood and copper.

The creation of “multi-extrusion” printers with multiple print heads means that two or more materials can be used to create one object using whatever complex design the engineer can come up with, including animal-like structures. For example, Ninjaflex, with its high flexibility could be used to create a skin or muscle-like outer material combined with Nylon near the core to protect vital inner components, just like a rib cage.

In the new robot, the top hemisphere is printed as a single component but with nine different layers of stiffness, from rubber-like flexibility on the outside to full rigidity on the inside. This gives it the necessary strength and resilience to survive the impact when it lands. By 3D printing and trialling multiple versions of the robot with different material combinations, the engineers realised a fully rigid model would jump higher but would be more likely to break and so went with the more flexible outer shell.

Once robots are capable of performing more tasks with the skill of humans or animals, such as climbing stairs, navigating on their own and manipulating objects, they will start to become more integrated into our daily lives. This latest project highlights how 3D printing can help engineers design and test different ideas along the road to that goal.

time.com

by July 14, 2015

19 year old creator of cheap robotic arm controlled by brainwaves

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/19-year-old-uses-3d-printing-to-create-cheap-120454888024.html

19-Year-Old Uses 3D Printing to Create Cheap Robotic Arm Controlled by Brainwaves

For Easton LaChappelle, a 19-year-old from Colorado in the United States (U.S.), the difficulty with robotics has never been the technology itself – something he says he managed to master in a matter of months from his bedroom in his parent’s house – but the cost.

The technology used by most robotic arms and hands on the market – and many more of those in development – typically comes with large overheads.

In the last five years, though, learning almost exclusively online in forums and emails, LaChappelle has managed to synthesize a series of robotic hands that could change industries and lives – and most of which cost just a few hundred dollars.

While other developments in countries like Austria and Argentina have pushed the boundaries of prosthetic offerings, helping those missing limbs to start to regain use of them with robotics, LaChappelle has done so using 3D printing.

And he’s made one that he says can read your mind. It’s called Anthromod.

“This reads right about 10 channels of the brain, so it kind of works kind of like a muscle sensor in that it picks up small electric discharges and turns that into something you can actually read within software, and then we actually track patterns and try and convert that into movement. So with this I’m actually able to change grips, grip patterns, based on facial gestures, and then use the raw actual brainwaves and focus to actually close the hand or open the clamp or hand,” he told Reuters Television.

One of the most important aspects of the Anthromod design is the way in which it’s controlled by the software, which LaChappelle says is different from the types of control that exist in other robotic platforms.

While it’s the hand itself that moves, as more advanced controls are created it’s the software that’s doing the heavy lifting, using algorithms that make the arm easier to use.

“A good example is we actually had an amputee use the wireless brainwave headset to control a hand, and he was able to fluently control the robotic hand in right around about 10 minutes, so the learning curve is hardly a learning curve any more,” he said.

The arms themselves might not look polished and ready for the shop floor – but LaChappelle sees them as cutting edge.

His robotic arms are all prototypes, each fulfilling a different need according to their design, with some using a wireless brainwave headset, designed more for prosthetic use. Another of his tele-robotic controlled hands was created with dangerous environments in mind, where human-like robots could be sent to allow people to monitor situations and intervene from afar.

“I really tried to make this as human-like as possible – this is probably about my fifth generation of the full robotic arm, and this is controlled using a full tele-robotic system, so there’s actually a glove that you wear that tracks your hand movements, accelerometers to track your wrist and elbow, and then an IMU sensor as well to track your bicep rotation as well as your shoulder movement, and that gets all translated wirelessly to the robotic arm where it will copy what you do,” he said.

One of the most impressive aspects of the arm is not the hardware itself, or even the software that controls it – but the fact that it can be 3D printed for a fraction of the cost of modern prosthetics.

This allows him to make complex internal structures to the designs which would otherwise be impossible, using not just any 3D printer, but precisely the kind many expect people to have at home in the near future.

“So 3D printing allows you to create something that’s human-like, something that’s extremely customized, again for a very low cost, which for certain applications such as prosthetics, is a really big part of it,” he told Reuters.

“The full robotic arm is actually open source, and so people are now actually able to take this, reproduce it, and adapt it for different situations, applications, and really see what you can do with it,” he added.

The Anthromod itself cost only about 600 dollars to make, LaChappelle said.

His work is documented in the videos he made at home, showing his handiwork – all part of his effort at making the invention open source – which means anyone can take his technology and customize and build on it.

The idea, he said, is not to create something that can solve problems for those with prostheses and other needs for robotic arms like the ones he’s invented – but rather to create a platform that people around the world can use to customize their own versions of to suit their needs.

“A big reason we designed this on the consumer level is because we made this open source, we want someone that has a 3D printer, or very little printing experience, to be able to replicate this, to be able to use this for new applications, to be able to adapt it into new situations, so it’s really exciting to see what people will start doing with something like this,” he said.

“For the actual arm, we designed everything to be modular, meaning all the joints can actually interchange, and there’s a universal bolt pattern. So you can now create something human-like, or you can create a big 20 degree freedom arm for complex filming or even low cost automations. So we really want to make a robotics platform, not so much just a robotics hand from this,” he added.

LaChappelle hopes his efforts will contribute to developments in bomb defusal robots, heavy equipment and heavy industrial automation robotic arms, as well as exoskeletons.

yahoo.com

Disney develops 3D printed 2-legged robot!

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150527-disney-develops-2-legged-3d-printed-robot-that-walks-like-an-animated-character.html

Disney develops 3D printed 2-legged robot that walks like an animated character

There are just a few companies in the world that need no introduction, and Disney is one of them. After all, who didn’t grow up watching Disney classics? But did you know that Disney does more than shoot box office hits, record terrible catchy songs and avoid theme park-related lawsuits? They also have an active Research Department charged with creating actual, rather than digital, creations which can be used for throughout the Disney imperium. And the department’s latest achievement is impressive: recreating the walking movements of animated characters in bi-pedal robots, which they have done using 3D printing technology.

As three scientists attached to the department in Pittsburgh – Seungmoon Song, Joohyung Kim and Katsu Yamane – explain, they set out to develop robotics that can be used to make Disney’s theme parks and toys more realistic and magical. After all, fit young heros from Disney’s movies and TV shows don’t exactly perform well when moving as stiffly as paraplegic grandmothers. ‘Creating robots that embody animation characters in the real world is highly demanded in the entertainment industry because such robots would allow people to physically interact with characters that they have only seen in films or TV. To give a feeling of life to those robots, it is important to mimic not only the appearance but also the motion styles of the characters,’ they write.

But this isn’t easy. As they write in an article entitled ‘Development of a Bipedal Robot that Walks Like an Animation Character’, the field of robotics struggles to capture life-like movement. ‘The main challenge of this project comes from the fact that the original animation character and its motions are not designed considering physical constraints,’ they write. And of course trying to tackle quirky and fast animated characters is even more difficult, as they movements are not typically designed to be physical correct. ‘[But in recent years] animation characters have evolved to be more realistic. Using computer graphic techniques, we can design 3D characters, and generate more natural and physically plausible motions with them.’

And you might be surprised to learn that their solution is somewhat similar to what you and I would do for a project: just 3D print it and add some servo motors. Of course it isn’t quite so simple, but to capture the exaggerated gait and movement of animated characters they first 3D printed leg components to match the structure of their potato-like character, which you can see in the clip below. ‘We start from animation data of a character walking. We develop a bipedal robot which corresponds to lower part of the character following its kinematic structure. The links are 3D printed and the joints are actuated by servo motors,’ they explain. All these parts were 3D printed using Stratasys’ Object 260 Connect 3D printer in RGD525 material.

Of course these need to be very specifically angled and positioned to ensure that 3D movement can be recreated. And Trajectory optimization software does most of the rest. ‘Using trajectory optimization, we generate an open-loop walking trajectory that mimics the character’s walking motion by modifying the motion such that the Zero Moment Point stays in the contact convex hull,’ they write. Now this process is more difficult than it sounds, but for a full description of data extraction and installing the mechanics you’ll have to dive into the full scientific article here.

But the results are obvious, though not perfect. The robot can definitely walk well, but doesn’t reproduce the digital models perfectly and has a tendency to wobble. ‘When we play back the optimized trajectory, the robot wobbles forward. It is because the robot does not produce the motion perfectly. For example, the stance leg flexes more and scuffs the swing foot at the beginning and end of the swing phase. This causes the swing foot to push against the ground and the stance foot to slip, which results in unstable walking,’ the scientists write.

One solution for this is slowing down the process. ‘We observed that the robot slips less as we play back the optimized motion slower, and the resulting walking looks closer to the optimized walking,’ they write, but conclude that the system just isn’t working optimal for now. While there are few options for more progress – including investigating structural materials and replacing 3D printed parts – it looks like we’ll have to wait a few years before running into mechanically-sound walking Disney characters at Disney world.

3ders.org

by Alec | May 27, 2015

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150527-disney-develops-2-legged-3d-printed-robot-that-walks-like-an-animated-character.html

3D prints robotic ants and butterflies

http://3dprinting.com/news/festo-3d-prints-robotic-ants-butterflies/

Three BionicANTs working together as one mimicking ant behaviour. Source: Festo

Festo 3D Prints Robotic Ants and Butterflies

Festo is an industry leader in advanced robotics and they have presented two of their projects: BionicANTs and eMotionButterfiles only made possible by using laser sintering 3D printing and 3D MID ( Molded Interconnect Device) technology. 3D MID is a control and power system where electrical circuits are attached on the surface of the laser sintered body components during the construction, and they thereby take on design and electrical functions at the same time. In this way, all the technical components can be fitted into or on the 3D printed body and be exactly coordinated with each other for complex actions of a insectoid robot.

BionicANTs

BionicANTS are biomimetic robots that modeled to resemble real ants in anatomy and behaviour. ANT stands for Autonomous Networking Technologies, and they are designed as a sort of small prototype of future applications  the factory floor, where the production systems will be founded on adaptable and intelligent components able to work under a higher overall control hierarchy. Their body as well as software mimic natural behaviour of group of ants working together. Each BionicANT measures 13.5 cm (5.3 in) and runs on two 7.2 V batteries charged when the antennae touch metal bars running along the sides of an enclosure.

Three BionicANTs working together as one mimicking ant behaviour. Source: Festo

Official brochure notes:

“After being put into operation, an external control system is no longer required. It is possible, however, to monitor all the parameters wirelessly and to make a regulating intervention. The BionicANTs also come very close to their natural role model in terms of design and constructional layout. Even the mouth instrument used for gripping objects is replicated in very accurate detail. The pincer movement is provided by two piezo-ceramic bending transducers, which are built into the jaw as actuators. If a voltage is applied to the tiny plates, they deflect and pass on the direction of movement mechanically to the gripping jaws. All actions are based on a distributed set of rules, which have been worked out in advance using mathematical modelling and simulations and are stored on every ant. The control strategy provides for a multi-agent system in which the participants are not hierarchically ordered. Instead, all the BionicANTs contribute to the process of finding a solution together by means of distributed intelligence. The information exchange between the ants required for this takes place via the radio module located in the torso. The ants use the 3D stereo camera in their head to identify the gripping object as well as for self-localisation purposes. With its help, each ant is able to contextualise itself in its environment using landmarks. The opto-electrical sensor in the abdomen uses the floor structure to tell how the ant is moving in relation to the ground. With both systems combined, each ant knows its position – even if its sight is temporarily impaired.”

With on-board batteries the ANT can work for 40 minutes.

eMotionButterflies

Designed to mimic real butterflies, this small robots are ultralight and have coordinated flying behaviour in a collective. They are are able to autonomously avoid crashing into each other in real-time controlled by networked external guidance and monitoring system with 10 cameras, interior GPS and IR markers on their bodies. The entire system is very impressive combination of prcise guidance, raw processing power, optical tracking and delicate 3D printed flying robot design.

Technical specifications of entire system:

  • 10 infrared cameras
  • Frame rate: 160 images per second
  • Exposure time: 250 µs
  • 1 central master computer
  • Analysed pixels: 3.7 billion pixels per second
  • Flying object:
  • Wingspan: 50 cm
  • Weight: 32 g
  • Wing beat frequency: approx. 1–2 Hz
  • Flying speed: 1–2.5 m/s
  • Flying time: 3–4 min.
  • Recharging time: 15 min.
  • Integrated components: 1 ATxmega32E5 microcontroller , 1 ATmega328 microcontroller, 2 servo motors made by MARK STAR Servo-tech Co., Ltd. to activate the wings, 1 inertial sensor (inertial measurement unit, IMU) MPU-9150 with gyroscope, accelerometer and compass, 2 radio modules, 2 LiPo cells 7.4 V 90 mAh, 2 infrared LEDs as active markers

eMotionButterflies flying in formation Source: Festo

eMotionButterflies flying in formation Source: Festo

You can get more information about this wonderful looking 3D printed insectoids on Festo homepage:
http://www.festo.com/cms/en_corp/9617.htm

I do not fear 3D printed robotic insects. They most likely come as friends. Most likely.

3dprinting.com

by

3D printed prosthetics and their restrictions

An Eye-Opening Article about 3D Printed Prosthetics & Their Restrictions

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/11/the-reality-of-3d-printed-robo-hands.html

London, UK. 7th November 2013. a 3D printed prosthetic arm by the University of Nottingham is on display at the 3D Printshow at the Business Design Centre in London.
The Show brings together the biggest names in 3D printing technology alongside the most creative, exciting and innovative individuals using additive processes today. © Piero Cruciatti/Alamy Live News

3D printed prosthetics seems like a miracle solution to a costly problem, but some of the claims of safety and cost are exaggerated.

Jack Reidy just turned 10 last month. He’s an athletic kid—in the winter he plays hockey a few times a week, and in the summer he pitches on his baseball team. His style is a little unorthodox though. When he’s pitching, after he releases the ball, he switches his glove onto his throwing hand. And on the rink, he holds the stick against his body on his left side, rather than in his hand. That’s because Jack was born with a partial left hand, with a palm but without fully formed fingers.

Despite that, Jack’s father, James, said that his son never really asked for a prosthetic. “We never brought it up, we’ve just treated him as any normal kid.”

It wasn’t until last year, when Jack saw a picture of a 3D printed hand in Parademagazine, that he even considered it. “His first thought was holding a baseball bat, and that was Jack’s first time in showing any interest in any type of prosthetics.”

The Reidys had been working with a prosthetist named Jeff Erenstone to help develop a special hockey glove, and it turned out that Erenstone was also involved in a group of volunteers who print plastic hands.

Eventually Jack was matched with a volunteer in Michigan named Bruce Chaput, who offered to print him a hand (a model called the Raptor). James remembers it all being quite foreign to him. “He sent us a picture of the printer. It looked funky; I thought it was some old age kind of thing. Obviously it’s not.”

Chaput and Jack spent a lot of time talking about what colors he wanted his hand to be. “We spent way more time talking about the colors and the hand and whatnot than actually printing it,” Chaput said, laughing. Jack picked orange and black, the colors of the high school where his dad coaches hockey.

On Christmas Day, the hand arrived at Erenstone’s office. But it wasn’t exactly a Christmas miracle. When Erenstone opened the box, he immediately noticed a long crack in the hand. And when he picked it up things got worse. “It literally crumbled in my hand,” he said.

Recently there’s been a lot of hype surrounding the promise of 3D printed limbs. Everywhere from The New York Times to Popular Science to the Today Show has run stories on people all over the world printing hands. The narrative goes like this: Prosthetic hands are really expensive—a recent Uproxx documentary about 3D printed hands claimed that the average prosthetic on the market costs $60,000—while the 3D printed version cost far less, and can be fixed and replaced with a simple push of a button on a printer. Welcome to the future, the world in which the everyman can print his own arm, breaking free from the chains of debt-by-prosthetic.

But that’s not exactly a true story.

Last month, the American Orthotics and Prosthetics Association (AOPA) released a statement clarifying a few key points. The average upper extremity prosthesis does not cost anywhere near $40,000 to $80,000, as many of these accounts claim. It actually costs something like $1,500 to $8,000. The AOPA statement also pointed out that in many cases, the people printing hands are operating illegally. There are 15 states in which providing a prosthetic or orthotic device is illegal without a license. Prosthetists are trained medical professionals, with licenses that take years of education and apprenticeships. The people printing these arms have none of that, which can, in theory, become dangerous. These arms and hands they’re printing aren’t FDA tested, break easily, and should never be used to replace a prosthetic arm.

Of course, the reality of 3D printed prosthetics is somewhere in between the media hype and the concerns of prosthetists with an industry to protect. Prosthetics made by 3D printers can certainly help some people, especially children who are embarrassed of their missing limb. But it’s also important to remember that these are, for the most part, hands made out of thin layers of plastic, printed by volunteer hobbyists with no training.

Some organizations understand that. The group that Erenstone hooked the Reidys up with is one of them, called e-NABLE. e-NABLe is a community-based group that connects amputees with hobbyists who have 3D printers, and is a good example of an organization that understand the limits of their technology.

“We don’t even call these things prosthetics,” Jon Schull, the co-founder of e-NABLE, told me. Schull said they have turned away amputees asking for hands for tasks that they’re not capable of standing up to. “We had someone who used to ride a motorcycle, who wanted hands so he could ride his motorcycle again. He had big hopes for what this could do that we weren’t comfortable with. He was going to use it to operate heavy machinery that could injure himself and others.”

Despite that, Schull said that the group’s relationship with prosthetists is shaky. “Some of them are concerned that we’re undercutting their industry. Some of them understand that we’re opening up a new market.”

The AOPA statement came out of frustration from prosthetists that some 3D printing groups were promoting their work using inaccurate numbers. But Tom Fise, the executive director of AOPA, said that he’s not trying to discourage groups like e-NABLE from doing the work they do. “I think that everybody has to be moved by these stories, and by the light that advances in technology have brought into the lives of families and kids and all of that. I don’t want to ever diminish that.” But he also said that it’s important to keep kids safe too. “Overall, it’s a public safety kind of issue.”

Take Jack’s hand, for example. It was broken out of the box, and Erenstone spent Christmas Eve rushing to fix it the best he could. “I super-glued the thing back together as best I could. But I knew how easily it broke and I knew it wasn’t going to last.” When Jack came in the next day to get the hand fitted, it broke again. Erenstone was able to get it working, but it broke when Jack got home as well.

Chaput, the volunteer who made the hand, said it was the first he ever printed for someone (to become an e-NABLE printer, volunteers have to print and assemble a test hand, but this was his first that a human would use). Chaput is a chemical engineer by day, and like the rest of the e-NABLE printers, he does all this work for free. He thinks two things probably went wrong in the printing, and both are endemic to the way that 3D printing works.

You can think of 3D printing like a very precise hot glue gun that lays down thin layers of hot plastic. This means that the pieces that get printed are very strong in some ways, but weak in others. So if you pull up on the piece, pulling perpendicular the direction the layers were laid down, it can break. This is how the biggest crack in Jack’s hand formed. The other, smaller cracks were likely due to another common 3D printing challenge: temperature.

“You’re always battling the temperature,” Chaput said. “When you extrude, you want it to come out soft obviously, it has to leave the nozzle and bond, but then you want it to harden quickly. It’s the soft but hard concept that you’re always battling.” Chaput said that he thinks that Jack’s hand was made a little bit too cold, which caused cracks to form.

For Chaput, this whole thing was a learning experience. “Every time you make one it comes out better. And that’s the thing, that whole hand was only eight bucks worth of plastic, so making more of them is no big deal.”

When I asked him if he was worried about sending something that might be broken to a kid to use, something that a kid could get hurt using, he said he was. “That’s why I like having Jeff [Erenstone] there. Sending it out to a totally random person that you don’t know what they’re going to do with it, particularly when they have a really young kid—that is an unsettling thought.”

But many of the e-NABLE volunteers do just that—they mail the printed hand to the person who asked for it. In the vast majority of cases, that’s fine. Since most kids aren’t using them for sports or intense activity they’re not likely to hurt themselves. And e-NABLE is careful to explain to recipients what the hands are capable of. But not everyone is like e-NABLE. There are other groups and companies advertising 3D printing as a full replacement for a hand. And that’s where Erenstone and Fries start to get worried. “3D printing does not break physics,” said Erenstone. Plastic can only take so much.

Jack’s story has an interesting coda, one that points to the future of 3D printed prosthetic devices. After his first Raptor hand came out of the box broken, Erenstone decided he would make something else for him. Something better. So he teamed up with Steve Wood, an engineer based in the UK who had become involved in the e-NABLE community and whose designs Erenstone described to me as “brilliant” more than once. In 2013, Wood came across a material called Filaflex—a more flexible material than the usual hard plastic. He started playing around with it. “I created a hinge between two rigid parts, and that grew into a finger because a finger is full of three hinges, and the finger then developed into a hand because I needed something to connect the finger too.” Eventually he had something he called a “Flexy-Hand.”

That was what Erenstone wanted to give Jack—so he sent scans of Jack’s hand to Wood and asked if he could make him one. Not only did Wood make a Flexy-Hand for him, he also printed out a copy of Jack’s hand to test the device out on. He sent both to Erenstone, and in January the Reidy family gathered in Erenstone’s office, with Wood on video chat, to test out the hand.

[EMBED” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EocIKpdPyw]

Within a few minutes, Jack was picking up bottles, grasping cans, and even writing his name with his left hand—something he had never done before. “Think of the dexterity it takes to write your name. He’d never done that with his left hand before, because it wasn’t a possibility,” Erenstone said. Wood had never watched someone put on one of his devices for the first time. “He took to it like a fish to water,” Wood said.

But the Flexy-Hand isn’t quite the same as what the average e-NABLE volunteer is able to make. Wood is an engineer by training with years of experience in building and designing mechanical devices using special design software called CAD. “I’m sure I have a massive advantage in understanding CAD and having 28 years or so of engineering experience behind me. It must count for something.” And Filaflex isn’t easy to print, nor is it as cheap as the standard plastic. Not all 3D printers can handle the material, and it can be finicky.

Erenstone said that all told, including his time helping Jack fit the device, the Flexy-Hand probably costs $2,000. Compared to the standard 3D printed hand that’s a lot. But compared to a carbon fiber hand that might run something like $8,000, it’s not. And Erenstone said this was the first 3D printed prosthetic that he would be willing to put on a patient as a real prosthetic device.

But this is where the promising future of 3D printed hands probably lies. Not in the $30, volunteer-printed version, but in this middle ground where engineers and prosthetists work together to make something slightly cheaper than the average professionally made device.

Wood said he couldn’t make the hand without Erenstone’s help. “I can make custom designs made to measure all day long, but I’m not medically trained and I don’t have the qualifications for the fitting of prosthetics. This is I think where it becomes a good partnership between myself and Jeff.”

Jack has had his Flexy-Hand at home for about two months now. James said he was hesitant to use it at first since he didn’t want to break it like the earlier Raptor hand, but in the past few days Jack has started wearing it more. But even the fancy new hand doesn’t work for a lot of situations. On Thursday he tried the hand at hockey practice for the first time. It didn’t fit quite right in the glove, so he couldn’t use it. He also tried to shoot hoops with the hand, and he took it off pretty quickly. “With Jack it might have been different if he lost his hand after birth,” James said. “I think that he is so used to being without, especially with sports.”

Despite all the back and forth, James is hesitant to criticize the e-NABLE process. “I wouldn’t call them issues, since they’re just getting started,” he said. “It’s a great thing, but it’s not 100 percent functional for everything you do in life. I don’t want to knock it, it’s been great.”

Here’s how Schull thinks about 3D printed hands: “What I say these days is that these devices are compared favorably, especially by kids, to commercial prosthetics costing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. They’re compared favorably. But, a 9-year-old will compare peanut butter very favorably to caviar. And indeed peanut butter is probably a better fit for that kid, but they’re just not the same.”

THEDAILYBEAST.COM
by Rose Eveleth | 03.11.15 5:15 AM ET

3D printed robots again popular ?

The Never-Ending Battle Against Litter May Change Forever if 3D Printed Robots Become Popular

http://goo.gl/BjcqIY

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I frequent the famous white-sanded and turquoise-watered beaches of the Florida panhandle. And, as much as we say it over and over, it IS infuriating to see trash on the ground and in the water.  This is especially a problem during Spring Break all over the United States. Where I walk, I could spend the hour just picking up plastic bottles and aluminum beer cans–but I gave that up because they keep reappearing. Well, if one designer has her way there may be a new beach cleaning ‘Doctor’ in town.  Mingyu Jeong designed a concept for what could best be described as an automated robotic beach cleaner with a built in 3D printer.  Called Dr. Recare, it could change the way we deal with litter.  Could this concept become a reality?

Dr. Recare is a 3D printing robotic “doctor” designed with the mission of a superhero (or superhuman): it can supposedly easily, efficiently–and triumphantly once and for all?–clean up our beaches while we still enjoy the sand and waves. This machine works in a way that I would not have easily imagined would be efficient, and I have questions about cost.

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Dr. Recare cleans sand itself by acting as a plastics recycler — on site. It extracts and heats up plastic garbage, then turns the plastic into 3D printer filament which it uses to 3D print recycling bins.  You can view the whole process here.

Part of the reason we are in the position we are in regarding beach pollution is there has been massive oil spills and no efforts to support the clean-up from the front line plastics production side of the issue.  (We can simply stop producing more trash.)  Oil companies spill with little repercussions, humans litter, and beaches get junked: but what’s the actual expense, and is on-site recycling via 3D printing with the trash a solution?

For example, on Panama City Beach, Florida you see tons of trash on the beaches at Spring Break.  This, and participants’ behavior,  has caused locals to call for canceling Spring Break altogether — which is impossible to do.  Now that we have located the problem of making clean up attractive with Dr. Recare’s help: maybe Spring Break beaches could showcase this as an educational tool, or a student volunteer opportunity, if it’s ever actually manufactured.

You can see by the size of the above crowd, on site stations could be established and highly functional.  People are still needed to run these machines, ultimately, but they showcase 3D printing technology and the significance of the actual behavior of generating so much waste by recycling it in front of users’ eyes on location.  I see Dr. Recares as being one way to approach recycling plastic into something useful–but we still want to stop generating plastic bins at some point too right?  The educational aspect of this design is its best feature — and I would love to go see them out on site at our next Spring Break!

Highly trafficked beach locations also feature events like Pirates’ Day and many concerts.  These are the days that public education is most possible for things like 3D printing.  When I look at 3D printing projects, I want to see a holistic design effort that also views the environmental costs of actually making the machine itself.  If it can be integrated into holistic public education and practical beach clean-up efforts, without being touted as the “answer”: I am all for it.  Let’s get started yesterday!  Let’s hear your thoughts on this concept.  Discuss in theDr. Recare forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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3DPRINT.COM
by  | JANUARY 2, 2015

3D printed sex robot

A 3D Printed Sex Robot is Currently in Production – Now We’ve Seen it All!

http://goo.gl/w7poyb

Cesar-Vonc

Those familiar with 3D printing are well aware that we pretty much live in the future, where this technology can create almost anything we can imagine. Sometimes, admittedly, the human imagination doesn’t, well, leave much to the imagination.

French artist César Vonc seems to have an active imagination, as well as the talent and drive to bring his creations to fruition. As part of a robotic contest in 2014, Vonc created what he dubbed “the new invention of the next century.” He created the “Soubrobotte,” a 3D printed sex robot.

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Modeled with Cinema 4D, rendered with Octane Render, and 3D printed, the robot is still largely conceptual — but it could be a part of the future. For some people, anyway; around 17% of people admit they’d be interested in this type of technology, so there is clearly a market ready and waiting. That survey was done in the UK, but presumably figures are fairly similar this side of the Atlantic.

While the immediate impression of the Soubrobotte (mine, at least) is to be somewhat taken aback, I have to admit that I’m pretty impressed by the detail and sheer amount of work that went into this project. This robot is not only optimized for certain private acts, she is also anatomically correct — through and through. From the mechanical spine down the back to the correctly placed and sized organs, the Soubrobotte seems a very thorough lesson in anatomy (and rather more hands-on than what you might get from a textbook).

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This robot is a mock-up, not a working automaton. Still, this seems a sure step in progress toward a fully-realized sex robot design. Working iterations may or may not include the helpful arrow that Vonc included to guide users to the proper placement of the robot’s, ah, lady parts.

Assuming that sex robots are going to be further developed, 3D modeling and printing represent the most likely means to design them. The use of 3D printing allows for adaptability, rapid prototyping, and the use of a variety of materials. With the intricate details of the human body — both internal and external — being key to a successful, realistic robot, 3D design is ideal.

For now, this piece of art remains just that: art. It certainly does generate conversation, which is often an artist’s goal. To that end, Vonc seems to be quite successful.  Among Vonc’s other projects are renderings of cockpits, cars, and sexy ladies, most also created using Cinema 4D and Octane Render.

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Let us know your thoughts on this project and its implications over at the 3D Printed Sex Robot forum thread at 3DPB.com.

3DPRINT.COM
by | DECEMBER 29, 2014