The Best 3D Printing News of the Week

This Week in the 3D Printing World: Lifelike Biometric Fingerprint Models, Humanoid Robot, Binary Star System Explosion, and More

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Lifelike biometric fingerprint models created using 3D printing

  • Scientists from Michigan State University have produced the first wearable fingertip that mimics human skin using 3D printed molds.
  • The university’s Biometrics Research Group produced the silicone fingertips in order to test fingerprint readers and make them more accurate.

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This 3D printed humanoid robot is learning sign language to support the deaf community

  • The 3D printed robot is capable of translating text into sign language that otherwise would not be affordable or accessible with other production technologies.
  • The robot, called Aslan, aims to fill the limited number of sign language interpreters across the world.
  • The Aslan robot is expected to be produced in over 140 countries.

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3D printing a nova: Scientists recreate binary star system explosion in 3D

  • A group of scientists have used 3D modeling and 3D printing to physically recreate (on a tiny scale) the explosion pattern of a star located 25,000 light years from earth.
  • 3D printing a physical model of the exploding star gives scientists a more tangible way of studying the outburst patterns.

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Colloidal self-assembly has the potential to revolutionize 3D printing

  • A team of scientists at New York University (NYU) are making the dream of molecular “3D printing” a reality.
  • The concept describes how particles can be programmed to arrange themselves into virtually any shape possible. The resulting microstructures formed would be capable of performing tasks the way cells do, and even create the basis of larger constructs.
  • Colloidal self-assembly, according to NYU assistant professor of chemistry Stefano Saccana, “could be achieved by not merely reducing the size of the printed architectures, but also by allowing us to ‘print’ functional architectures.”

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EPFL’s 3D printed ‘Envirobot’ is a modular robot that swims like an eel and detects water pollution

  • Researchers from EPFL in Switzerland have used 3D printing to develop ‘Envirobot,’ a modular eel-like swimming robot that can collect environmental data and deliver it to scientists in real time.
  • With the Envirobot project, which has been underway for a couple of years now and which is funded as part of the Swiss Nano-Tera program, the Lausanne-based researchers are aiming “to design and construct an aquatic water sampling and water analysis robot, which can either work in a surveying mode according to a predefined path, or in auto-navigation mode, according to chemosensory and biological systems input.”
  • Another research partner is developing a pH sensor for Envirobot, while another is using a biosensor consisting of a tiny crustacean that is sensitive to changes in the water’s composition.

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With this breakthrough, transparent glass can be 3D printed

  • Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have for the first time 3D-printed transparent glass at room temperature. This new 3D printing method can offer not only transparent glass but glass structures with composition gradients, something that has been impossible with conventional manufacturing methods.
  • One of the ideal characteristics of this method is that the refractive index of the glass can be changed easily, meaning glass with varying refractive indices can be made into a single flat optic rather than a complex shaped optic.

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