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

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Baseball – first pitch with 3D printed hand

http://www.cnet.com/news/adorable-5-year-old-throws-out-first-pitch-with-3d-printed-hand/

Adorable 5-year-old throws first pitch with 3D-printed hand

A little girl born with a rare medical condition throws out the first pitch at the Baltimore Orioles game on Monday thanks to a 3D-printed hand designed and printed by UNLV students.

Baltimore Orioles fans got quite a treat before Monday’s Major League Baseball game between the Orioles and the Oakland Athletics. Hailey Dawson, an adorable 5-year-old Orioles fan, threw out the first pitch with her custom-made, 3D-printed robotic hand.

Hailey has Poland syndrome, a disorder that causes children to be born with either missing or abnormal muscles on one side of the chest wall. Many with Poland syndrome – including Hailey – are also born with abnormalities of the hand, making it difficult or impossible to use their hands without prosthetics.

Prosthetics aren’t cheap — the functional myoelectric hands can cost tens of thousands of dollars — especially when they need to be replaced several times as a child grows. So, Hailey’s family turned to the engineering department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) for help.

The faculty and students in the department delivered, designing and 3D-printing a robotic hand that lets Hailey do things like grip and throw a baseball, a talent she was more than happy to show off at Monday night’s game.

Hailey’s hand is based on the Flexy-Hand 2 project, and anyone can download plans for the customizable hand on Thingiverse, a site for discovering and sharing 3D-printed objects. The UNLV engineering department customized the Flexy-Hand for Hailey’s needs and size.

Hailey’s already on her third hand — the first one needed repairs and was then too small, and the second one accidentally broke when Hailey’s mother, Yong, was replacing the fishing line that functions as retractors for the fingers. The UNLV team is already working on her fourth, adding robotic functionality with each new iteration to make her arm even better.

In the video below, you can see that functionality in action as Hailey uses her custom Orioles-themed robot hand to throw out the first pitch. The pitch was caught by Hailey’s favorite player, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.

If you want to see even more about Hailey’s adventures with her 3D-printed robot hand, you can check out some images from her trip on the Haileys_Hand Instagram page.

Because a hand that awesome definitely has to have its own Instagram account.

cnet.com

by | August 18, 2015 9:34 AM PDT

3D printed villas and Earth like planets

http://www.engadget.com/2015/07/26/3d-printed-villas-earth-like-planets/

Inhabitat's Week in Green

Inhabitat’s Week in Green: 3D-printed villas and Earth-like planets

Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

NASA dropped a bombshell this past week: The Kepler Space Telescope has discovered the most Earth-like planet to date. The rocky planet is slightly larger and warmer than our world, but it orbits a star and has the right conditions for liquid water. Meanwhile, the search for alien life goes on — and Stephen Hawking gave his support to a $100 million project seeking to find out if we’re alone in the universe. Exploring distant worlds is a challenging endeavor — last week NASA proposed a novel robotic spacecraft that could harvest wind energy while surveying gas giants like Jupiter. And the Smithsonian Institution launched a Kickstarter to save Neil Armstrong’s moon landing space suit, which is starting to fall apart after years of storage.

What if you could point a gadget at an apple and instantly know how much sugar it contained? That’s the promise of SCiO, a tiny hand-held device that can measure the molecular footprint of virtually any object. In other tech news, designer Kristof Retezár created an amazing gadget that harvests water from the air while you ride your bike so you don’t have to stop for fill-ups. MIT researchers demonstrated a water filter made from a tree branch that can remove 99 percent of E.coli bacteria. And researchers developed a 3D-printed bottle cap that can tell you if the milk’s gone bad before you take a sip.

3D printing is also progressing on the macro scale — last week a Chinese company showed just how far 3D-printed architecture has come by assembling an entire villa in less than three hours. If you’re looking for something even more futuristic, we present you with the Skysphere — a solar-powered home in the clouds that responds to the sound of your voice. City dwellers will swoon at this tiny apartment that packs an entire two-bedroom house into a single space. The secret? A hidden bed that drops down from the ceiling. And just for fun, we showcased the work of Nathan Sawaya, who makes incredible large-scale Lego sculptures of comic heroes and villains.

References:

engadget.com

by Inhabitat  | July 26th 2015 At 10:00am

http://www.engadget.com/2015/07/26/3d-printed-villas-earth-like-planets/

3D printed steel pedestrian bridge

http://3dprint.com/72682/amsterdam-3d-printed-bridge/

Visual-of-canal1-1030x579

3D Printed Steel Pedestrian Bridge Will Soon Span an Amsterdam Canal

The oldest of Amsterdam’s approximately 1,280 bridges in use dates back to 1648. The city is famous for its beautiful canals and waterways, and Dutch engineers have long made their names in constructing ways around the “Venice of the North.” Tourists are encouraged to visit one particular bridge on the Herengracht canal, from which they can see 15 bridges in one view. In addition to bridges, the Netherlands has been gaining fame across the board for its reputation in the global 3D printing arena.

mx3d-joris-laarman-amsterdam-heijmans

Now, the two are being brought together in an amazing feat of engineering prowess asHeijmans, MX3D, and Joris Laarman Lab collaborate on a first-of-its-kind project: a 3D printed steel pedestrian bridge that will span one of Amsterdam’s historic canals.

“We came to the conclusion that a bridge over the old canals of Amsterdam would be a fantastic metaphor for connecting the technology of the future with the city’s historic past, in a way which would reveal the best aspects of both worlds,” said Joris Laarman, who is designing the bridge. “I strongly believe in the future of digital manufacturing and local production – it’s a ‘new form of craftsmanship’. This bridge can show how 3D printing has finally entered the world of large-scale functional objects and sustainable materials, while enabling unrivalled freedom of design.”

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The ambitious project centers on startupMX3D’s technology, which uses 6-axis robotic machines to create structures from steel literally in mid-air. Plans for building the bridge involve using two (or more) of these machines to effectively begin construction on either bank of the canal and build toward one another, meeting in the middle.

While plans for the bridge’s location have not yet been made public, MX3D will, along with the city of Amsterdam, soon make this announcement. A visitor center will also be open to the public with extensive information available, starting in September.

“What distinguishes our technology from traditional 3D printing methods is that we work according to the ‘Printing Outside the Box’ principle,” said MX3D CTO Tim Geurtjens. “By printing with 6-axis industrial robots, we are no longer limited to a square box in which everything happens. Printing a functional, life-size bridge is of course the ideal way to showcase the endless possibilities of this technique.”

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For its part, Heijmans says, it will “contribute its knowledge of and experience in construction and technology to print the bridge.” Among other supporters in this project are Autodesk, whose technology Laarman has been using in the design process, as well as sponsors including ABB, Air Liquide, Delcam, Lenovo, and Within, and public partners Amsterdam City Council, AMS, and TU Delft.

Have you heard of other large-scale, usable construction projects going up around the world that rely on 3D printing technology? Let us know about them in the 3D Printed Pedestrian Bridge in Amsterdam forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

3D-print-steel-bridge-in-Amsterdam-1500x630

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Sketches-Bridge

3dprint.com

by  | JUNE 11, 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

The fourth dimension to 3D printing

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/206368-adding-the-fourth-dimension-to-3d-printing

Adding the fourth dimension to 3D printing

As 3D printing continues to revolutionize manufacturing, researchers have decided that three dimensions are not enough, and so the concept of 4D printing has begun to emerge. These four-dimensional objects are still built layer by layer in a 3D printer. But given time – the fourth dimension – these devices can automatically morph into a different shape, and thereby even change their function.

So far, researchers have developed devices using materials that are actuated by water or heat. This is significant, since the structures are ready as soon as you pick them up from the printer. However, up until now, the prototypes developed were slow, severely limited in the amount of times they could be used, and weak, since they relied on a bending motion in a flexible material.

Professor Marc in het Panhuis and PhD student Shannon Bakarich are set to change all that. The University of Wollongong researchers are the first to use a process whereby four different materials were printed simultaneously. The hydrogels used by the team consist of a network of poly N-isopropylacrylamide (PNIPAAm) and alginate. Alginate is a salt of alginic acid that is commonly found in seaweed and algae. Among other things, it is used as a thickener in food. PNIPAAm consists of two polymer networks entangled in one another. This gives the material strength and durability. When cracks form in one network, the other network bridges the gaps and so prevents greater damage.

4D printing 3D printing

The dual-network structure is not unique to PNIPAAm. However, the researchers used PNIPAAm since it exhibits a large change in volume at a critical temperature of about 32-35° Celsius (90-95° F). This change in volume is caused by a transition of the polymers from a collapsed globule state to an expanded coil state. When the temperature goes down, the polymers collapse back into globules.

The researchers combined thin sections of PNIPAAm with traditional materials. This allowed them to create a design capable of relatively fast linear motion, much like the contraction of a muscle. Best of all, this process is reversible. The transition can be actuated by different stimuli, depending on the hydrogels used.

Using PNIAAm, the researchers have developed a functioning valve that responds to the temperature of the water surrounding it. “It’s an autonomous valve,” says Panhuis in a statement. “There’s no input necessary other than water.” An autonomous device like this is valuable in medical soft robotics. As soon as the surrounding water reaches a certain temperature, the polymer strands inside the hydrogel change their shape. The large change in volume in the hydrogel causes a strong linear motion, which closes the valve.

Combining smart materials and 3D printing in this way offers an exciting method of creating custom designs of small autonomous devices. “The cool thing about it is, it’s a working, functioning device that you just pick up from the printer,” Panhuis said. Maybe we will one day even be able to print our own self-assembling structures and soft robots.

extremetech.com

by  | May 24, 2015 at 9:30 am

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

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