The world’s smallest phone charger

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150819-3d-printing-helps-uk-designers-develop-the-nipper-the-worlds-smallest-phone-charger.html

3D printing helps UK designers develop The Nipper, ‘The World’s Smallest Phone Charger’

When considering that nearly everybody carries a smartphone these days – in addition to their keys and wallet – it makes perfect sense why so many designers and manufacturers have been actively designing accessories ranging from speakers and cases to stands and sleeves for the mobile devices.  However, the one problem that everybody runs into is also among one of the most difficult to solve: battery life.

Inspired by the need to create a portable, on-the-go power solution for smartphone users that doesn’t involve carrying bulky cases or powerpacks, designers Doug Stokes and Chris Tait of Design on Impulse in the UK recently created what they are calling “The World’s Smallest Phone Charger” – AKA “The Nipper”.

Consisting of two AA batteries and a magnet that reside on a user’s keyring (the batteries are only installed when in use), the 10 gram Nipper is capable of charging smartphones while users are out and about or perhaps most importantly – during an emergency situation.

“The Nipper was primarily designed for emergency use,” explain the designers.

“When all else fails, when all hope is lost – in situations where you desperately need to use your phone but have no access to laptops, electrical sockets, wind turbines or solar panels the Nipper will be there for you.”

The design of the Nipper contains 3 neodynium magnets that are responsible for both making an electrical connection to the circuit board as well as holding the batteries together.  According to the designers, the circuit is actually a “boost converter” that converts the power from the batteries into a 5v power supply to charge your phone.  For today’s modern smartphones, this means that the batteries can supply an additional 10% battery capacity in 30 minutes, and 20% in just over an hour.

Like so many other hardware developers today, Stokes and Tait turned to 3D printing to make their idea for the World’s Smallest Phone Charger real – and have put the concept on Kickstarter to help it gain some traction; already, the campaign has surpassed their $10K goal by more than $3K and it has three weeks left to go.

“If we’re making small volumes of Nippers, we’ll 3D print the cases out of high quality nylon, but if demand is high and we have to make a full Nipper army we’re going to injection mold the cases out of polypropylene,” says the designers.

“The two halves of the Nipper are connected by either fabric or genuine leather straps. The neodynium are nickel plated on the classic Nippers, and gold plated on the premium Nippers.”

While the concept is certainly impressive, the fact that Tait and Stokes just graduated school together and entered a national design competition to develop The Nipper makes the story all the more impressive.

“One moment we were doing our finals and the next we were in the centre of London, working on a product we’d come up with in our flat which we’d been given support to make into a reality,” said Stokes.

“A lot of people who have just graduated are spending the summer travelling or trying to find a job and move out of home. But being able to go straight from university to working in Somerset House every day, where you’ve got Parliament on one side and St Paul’s on the other, is pretty amazing.”

Considering that the device comes in a number of colors and will likely expand to include multiple strap options, the charger is likely to fit with anybody’s style similar to modern smartphone case designs.

For those interested, a ‘Classic Nipper’ can be purchased starting at just $23 over on Kickstarter.

3ders.org

by Simon | Aug 19, 2015

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150819-3d-printing-helps-uk-designers-develop-the-nipper-the-worlds-smallest-phone-charger.html

Advertisements

3D printing – the future of global food?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/is-3-d-printing-the-future-of-global-food/article24981139/

Is 3D printing the future of global food?

A few weeks ago, Londoners were able to eat at the world’s first 3D-printed pop-up restaurant. In early June, a German-based company introduced the word’s first plug-and-play food printer, which may be ready for shipping as early as next year. With the cost to produce this technology dropping, making it increasingly accessible, 3D printing could fundamentally change our relationship with food.

Simply put, the process uses ingredients to generate three-dimensional meals by placing layers of compounded food on top of each other. Since 2012, the food industry has used this technology to produce products, including candy, chocolate, pizza, noodles and even crackers. Despite its relative novelty, many companies are recognizing its potential – and recognizing how 3D food printing can revolutionize our global food systems.

In particular, 3D printing could radically alter food production practices by enabling companies to manage resources more responsibly and reduce waste across the food continuum – whether you are a processor, a distributor or a consumer with leftovers. Indeed, many well-known agribusiness corporations have already dedicated a great deal of time and research on 3D systems. There is a potential benefit to consumer health, as well. For example, PepsiCo recently announced that it is using 3D printing to develop a healthier potato chip.

Beyond manufacturing, 3D printing could also boost culinary creativity by allowing renowned chefs to create shapes and forms that were previously thought impossible. Some have argued that it can give the food-service industry the ability to customize products based on individual nutritional needs.

Given the demographic challenges we face in coming decades, this can become a key benefit. In Germany, many nursing homes already produce a pureed 3D-printed food product called smoothfoods to residents who have difficulty ingesting food, or even chewing them. Regular smoothies have been on the menu, but haven’t proved as popular. Elderly residents eating smoothfoods can receive all the nutrients they require while enjoying an aesthetically pleasing meal. As a result, they can live healthier, higher quality lives.

More significantly, some experts believe 3D printing could effectively address global food security challenges. Ingredients such as algae, duckweed and grass could be imbedded into familiar dishes. A recent study in Holland added milled mealworm to a shortbread cookie recipe through 3D printing – most would agree that a cookie-shaped food product is much more appetizing than the look and feel of a worm. By using insects and other protein sources, the growing need for protein the globe is currently experiencing, which adds increased pressure to beef and pork prices, could be mitigated.

3D food printing does still face major obstacles. The technology remains expensive and complex. The engineering required to produce food is much more sophisticated than producing objects with metal and plastic. Food scientists acknowledge how difficult it is to effectively make edible meals in 3D food printing – ingredients in food interact in many complex ways, particularly with meats. At this point, 3D food printers are not known to produce great tasting food, and still do not have the overwhelming endorsement of the culinary world.

However, the technology is improving at an incredible pace, allowing us to believe that very soon, anything might be possible.

The concept of 3D printed food is foreign to many of us, and may challenge our collective appreciation of where food comes from, and how it is produced. Let’s face it – when it comes to food, we are all traditionalists to some extent, protective of our food heritage. Printing food is a drastic departure from the art of cooking as a way of celebrating nature’s bounty.

But the reality is that in just a few years, we will have more than nine billion people to feed. One way to responsibly address global food security challenges is to consider technology as a primary source for sustainable solutions. Treating alternatives to established food production systems as mere fads may not be the best approach.

After all, the future of the dinner table may be as different, and as simple as “Press print and eat.”

theglobeandmail.com

by SYLVAIN CHARLEBOIS | Jun. 17, 2015 10:39AM EDT

3D printed prosthetics for Ugandan schoolchildren

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150603-3d-printed-prosthetics-get-ugandan-amputees-back-on-their-feet.html

3D printed prosthetics get Ugandan schoolchildren back on their feet

Although we’ve heard numerous stories about how 3D printing has helped enable hundreds of those in need of prosthetic limbs, a majority of the cases have been located in the United States or the United Kingdom where 3D printers or 3D printing providers are becoming increasingly common and access to a 3D printer is getting easier than ever before.  While this is excellent news, there are still many world locations where affordable prosthetic devices – and even 3d printers in general – are needed and could be used perhaps even more than those located in more developed Western countries.

In the meantime – thankfully – various organizations and 3D printing providers have been picking up 3D printing jobs as needed to ensure that those who need the prosthetic devices the most are getting the proper care that they need.  More recently, the University of Toronto and charity Christian Blind Mission took it upon themselves to produce prostheses for a Ugandan schoolboy who had been in need of a prosthetic device for years.

The schoolboy, Jesse Ayebazibwe of Kisubi, Uganda, tragically had his right leg amputated after he was hit by a truck after walking home from school three years ago.  Since then, the nine-year-old has been maneuvering with the aid of crutches – however they have since made it difficult to play or move around.  “I liked playing like a normal kid before the accident,” he said.

Thanks to the support of a local orthopaedic technologist, Moses Kaweesa of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services (CoRSU) in Uganda, Ayebazibwe was able to use an infrared scanner and some 3D modeling software to create a prosthetic solution for the young boy before shipping the files to Canada to be 3D printed.

“The process is quite short, that’s the beauty of the 3D printers,” said Kaweesa.  “Jesse was here yesterday, today he’s being fitted.”

While Ayebazibwe previously wore a traditional-style prosthesis last year, his new 3D printed prosthesis is among the first in a trial that could see more 3D printed prosthetic device across Uganda for others in need – thanks in no small part to the efforts of Kaweesa.

Currently, the entire country of Uganda has just 12 trained prosthetic technicians for over 250,000 children who have lost limbs, which are often due to fires or congenital diseases.  At $12,000, a portable solution consisting of a laptop, a 3d scanner and a 3d printer is not cheap – however when considering the impact that a portable prosthetic device system could have on over 200,000 children in need – in northern Uganda alone, many people have lost limbs due to decades of war where chopping off limbs was a common reality.

“There’s no support from the government for disabled people … we have a disability department and a minister for disabled people, but they don’t do anything,” said Kaweesa.  “You can travel with your laptop and scanner.”

Upon receiving his 3D printed prosthetic, Ayebazibwe was clearly ecstatic.  “(It) felt good, like my normal leg,” he said. “I can do anything now — run and play football.”

The boy’s 53-year old grandmother, Florence Akoth, looks after him, even carrying him the two kilometers to school after his leg was crushed and his life shattered. She too is thrilled.

“Now he’s liked at school, plays, does work, collects firewood and water,” said Akoth.

3ders.org

by Simon | Jun 3, 2015

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150603-3d-printed-prosthetics-get-ugandan-amputees-back-on-their-feet.html