Computer Paints ‘New Rembrandt’ From Data Analysis

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is regarded as one of the most imaginative and talented European artists during the baroque era. As with any iconic artist, it’s always important to showcase their finest work in art galleries to inspire people to take up a creative hobby. The incredible advancements in modern technology allow us to take this one step further and employ data analysis to create new pieces. Recently, a team of engineers working alongside Microsoft managed to create a 3D printed painting in the style of Rembrandt. The end result is absolutely breathtaking and uses the same texture as an authentic oil painting. Emmanuel Flores, director of technology on the project told the BBC:

“We really wanted to understand what makes a face look like a Rembrandt,”

Information about Rembrandt’s previous works were compiled and computers discovered key patterns to gauge his artistic style. For example, it recognized how he would shape a subject’s eyes or other facial features. Machine learning algorithms were developed to create a new piece which accurately mimicked Rembrandt’s signature brush strokes. Flores also added:

“We found that with certain variations in the algorithm, for example, the hair might be distributed in different ways,”

“Our goal was to make a machine that works like Rembrandt,”

“We will understand better what makes a masterpiece a masterpiece.”

To limit the number of possibilities, the computational equations revolved around a portrait of a Caucasian male between the ages of 30 and 40 sporting a fashionable beard. Furthermore, details about the individual’s clothing ensured that the final result could be narrowed down using strict parameters. After being verified with digital tagging, humans selected algorithms based on their efficiency and allowed the computer to create the final piece. Once this was complete, a 3D texture was applied to correspond with the height and depth of paint used on typical Rembrandt works.

For more information about this intriguing project, please visit “The Next Rembrandt” website.

Say Hello To A 3D Printed Car – The LM3D Swim

We’ve all heard about 3D printers, being able to create your everyday bits and bobs at home by just printing off a copy from your computer. There are even extreme examples where people have 3D printed bridges or even houses. The next step to bring this area of technology to everyday people is here, introducing the LM3D Swim, a 3D printed car.

The LM3D Swim is just that, a 3D printed car. The overall project goal is to make as much of the car as possible from 3D printing, which is currently 75% printed. Printed using a mix of plastic and carbon fibre, the LM3D Swim is designed to be safe but it’s currently undergoing its crash safety testing and will be completely checked out by the end of 2016.

With the ability to 3D print cars, can you imagine the customizable looks you can create? While the body will retain the same shape, picking your cars colours, from the body  to the dashboard could soon become as easy as selecting an option on your computer screen.

If you are interested in buying one of these then have no fear, Local Motors (the company behind the idea) is looking to gain support through a crowdfunding campaign in the middle of this year while the car will go on for sales at retail at the end of the year.

Orbitrec 3D Printed Bike @ CES 2016

The world of 3D printing never ceases to amaze us here at eTeknix. While many still think the world of 3D printing is nothing but plastic cups and simple objects, the reality couldn’t be any further from those early roots. The Orbitrec is printed from Titanium, giving it incredible strength and the unique design allows it to remain lightweight, making it great for multiple terrain types.

Crash the bike? The smart connect features will text friends to alert them. This is great if you’re riding in a group, as you can’t always see all the members of your team. Sensors worked into the body of the bike will provide you with an analysis of your riding and environment, allowing you to fine tune your performance over time.

GPS, smart connected features and more don’t come cheap though, so expect to pay North of $7k for the new bike. That’s not too bad given the spec, but it’s clearly for the riding enthusiast.

Ultimaker 2+ 3D Printer Demoed @ CES 2016

CES 2016: 3D Printing is possibly the most exciting technological development in recent years and has the potential to change the world. This is a bold statement, but the option to scan any custom design and create a working 3D model is astonishing. Since 2013, Ultimaker have been a popular choice in the medical profession and small production lines due to the precision and reliability of their 3D printing hardware. Furthermore, the company has priced their 3D printers quite competitively which makes them a great value proposition. During CES 2016, the company showcased two new products; the Ultimaker2+ and the Ultimaker2 Extended+.

As the name suggests, the Extended+ is designed to print off larger items. Both units now feature interchangeable nozzles which can be easily changed in seconds. This makes maintenance extremely easy. Additionally, the products now have a more powerful gear feeder and enhanced print head cooling. In terms of pricing, the Ultimaker2+ retails for $2,499 while the Ultimaker2 Extended+ costs $3,030.

Reddit User Builds His Own 3D Printed Computer Case

3D printing is an idea that is on the rise in recent times, however, due to the expense of the printers and the materials they consume, the results are often showpieces of detail and finesse instead of functional everyday items. Despite this, Reddit user ‘C0mplx’ set about building a 3D-printed case for his computer, a project he named the “Node”.

The design objective for the Node was to provide a semi-portable and robust case that would be able to be easily transported to LAN parties and other events. The completed Node is actually version 2 of the concept of a 3D-printed case, with the original plan being to construct a full-tower case, which was scrapped after some initial part printings. Considering the final version of the node, I think it’s a good thing.

The process was far from short, with the initial concept being announced on the forums back in January, with the first printed parts of the case being shown off in June. The printing process was far from the longest part of the journey either, taking as little as a week to arrive. The best thing about the Node is its modular nature, as a 3D printed item it had to be printed in multiple parts, which are bolted together to form the complete case. This makes an unconstructed node far more compact than a normal case.

If you think you’d like a Node of your own, here is the bad news. For one, it is expensive, very expensive for a computer case. The initial quote for the printing of the Node was $500 for both the time and materials to print the Node, which is made of robust ABS and printed on a Fortus 250 printer worth over $50,000. Additionally, the Node will only be available in limited supply, however, a second revision, aiming to improve the design may be available in the future. Lastly is the fact that some parts of the case are in fact, not 3D printed, such as the acrylic plates, due to their size and difficulty to print.

Could we be close to an age where instead of picking our computer cases from a row of cases sporting features such as side windows and other aesthetic features, we could download and customize blueprints and have our original case printed to our specifications? For now, though, it remains in the realm of case modding enthusiasts. Would you want a Node, and what do you think it could need (as well as a cost reduction) to compete with the rest of the PC case market?

Adidas Creating 3D-Printed Shoes From Old Plastic

We are constantly reminded about the world around us and sometimes our impact on it for the worse. Companies and countries alike are looking for ways to create a better world by first reducing our impact on it, from solar energy to recycling companies are looking at new and amazing ways to help improve the world. Adidas is looking to use recycling to help not only save the planet but also give you some new footwear.

Made from some of the ocean plastics and gillnets, the wall of netting that you typically use to catch fish, the new pair of trainers aren’t just looking at using old materials. Futurecraft 3D is the name given to Adidas’s 3D printing technology exploration, meaning instead of crafting your shoes they will instead be printed to your requirements.

While no release date has been set for the shoes making it to the public market, can you imagine what this could mean? Are your feet odd sizes? How about that toe that always seems to dig into the side of any shoe you wear? Custom shoes, using recycled components meaning its better for the environment and quicker, you could even walk into a shoe store and custom order a pair which they print while you have your lunch.

DM Blade – The 700bhp 3D Printed Supercar

Introducing the world’s first 3D-printed supercar, the DM Blade. This car is an absolute monster of a vehicle, with so much power that the creator claims he’s managed to pull wheelies in it!

“I’ve done wheelies in it. I’ve lifted the front wheels going up a hill in fourth gear by four or five inches,” says Kevin Czinger, founder and CEO of Divergent Microfactories.

This isn’t just a one-off either, or at least the creator hopes they can create a limited run of them in the near future, with a street-legal version of the Blade expected within the next 18-months; we’re not surprised that a car that pulls wheelies up hills isn’t street legal.

Not every part is 3D-printed of course, but a lot of the components are, helping create unique shapes and lightweight designs that make this car so unique. The car uses 70 3D-printed aluminium alloy nodes, with the biggest taking up to 4-hours to print.

“The chassis is like the motherboard, you just plug whatever components you like in,” Czinger says. “As a result it’s easy to adapt the system for anything from a two-seater to a pick-up truck.”

Weighing in at just 630KG, with a 700bhp engine that’ll take it from 0-60 in 2.2 seconds, this is the kind of 3D-printing that’s easy to get excited about!

Thank you Topgear for providing us with this information.

A Clearer Picture For Utilizing Transparent Glass Within a 3D Printer

I recently wrote an article concerning a new technique of using a 3D printer to build up layers upon layers with pre-existing materials to create “glass” based objects. The accompanied video looked stunning and the potential applications seemed endless, well now, a team of MIT researchers have opened up a new frontier within 3-D printing which has expanded on the premise with new details concerning the ability to print optically transparent glass objects.

The ability to print glass objects is extremely complex and has been attempted by other research groups, the problem lies with the extremely high temperature which is required in order to melt the material. Quite a few development teams have used tiny particles of glass which is melded together at a lower temperature in a technique called sintering. Unfortunately, this technique has rendered such objects to be structurally weak and optically cloudy, thus eliminating two of glass’s most desirable attributes: strength and transparency.

MIT have therefore developed its own process which retains those properties and produces printed glass objects which are both strong and fully transparent to light. The device which is used to print such objects utilizes a computer assisted program which is similar to the standard design operating mechanisms implemented by current 3D printers. The result is a machine which can print objects with little human interaction or indeed intervention; it’s stunning to imagine an autonomous production line in your living room.

In the present incarnation, molten glass is loaded into a hopper within the top of the device after being gathered from a conventional glass blowing kiln. When completed, the finished piece must be cut away from the moving platform on which it is assembled; the temperatures are the same of 1900 degrees Fahrenheit which is approx 1037 degrees Celsius.

The potential uses for such a technique is mind-blowing, Neri Oxman, an associate professor at the MIT Media Lab envisions a future whereby it would be possible to “consider the integration of structural and environmental building performance within a single integrated skin.” This notion could completely transform the manufacturing process.

A further expansion on this technique would be to add pressure to the system which is either through a mechanical plunger or compressed gas, by doing so it is hoped to produce a more uniform flow and thus a more uniform width to the extruded filament of glass.

There is a potential downside to such a revolutionary direction, if you could inhabit a world where houses are printed on an industrial scale and goods are quickly printed, this would ultimately reduce the number of workers needed within production. AI and new techniques are slowly making people redundant within an ever-expanding population, a quote below emphases this further

“Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2025, up to a quarter of jobs will be replaced by either smart software or robots, while a study from Oxford University has suggested that 35% of existing UK jobs is at risk of automation in the next 20 years”.

What future will be printed for us humans?

Thank you mit and bbc for providing us with this information.

You Can Now Drink Whisky in Space With This Glass!

Ballantine’s is infamous for its blended Scotch whiskies which date back to 1827 and have won various accolades over the years. As one of the finest purveyors of Scotch Whisky, the company enlisted the help of Open Space Agency’s James Parr, to manufacture the first whisky glass for zero-gravity. The final design features a spiral convex, and stainless steel base plated in rose gold. As a result, the weight distribution allows the liquid to gradually maneuver around the glass to the top mouthpiece.

The glass is constructed from 3D-printed PLA plastic often used for medical equipment to replicate human organs. Parr and Ballantine also devised a 10kg pull magnet to firmly seal the glass on magnetic surfaces and stop it from aimlessly floating in space. The team positioned a one-way valve near the center which connects to a whisky bottle. This allows for a controlled flow of liquid. For more information regarding the technical process please visit this page.

From a marketing perspective, the “Space Glass” is quite spectacular and already amassed over 1 million views on YouTube. The concept is fairly intriguing, but I doubt many people in space have the time to casually sit back and drink into the dark hours. Unless, you are reading this 10, 20, perhaps 10000 years in the future and we all live on our own planet.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information. 

World’s First 3D-Printed Pill Approved By US Authorities

Damn I really love the concept behind this, in what would be a world first, the US Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead for a 3D-printed pill to be produced. I envisaged many things which could possibly be printed using this technique, but not a pill.

The new drug, has been coined Spritam, whether this was inspired by the word “Sprit” is open to interpretation, this drug has been developed by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals to control seizures brought on by epilepsy. The company also plans to produce many different types of medical drugs using its very own 3D platform. This technique also has other advantages including the ability to print layers of medication more precisely so that dosages are even more accurate than before.

The most compelling aspect lies within production; the standard procedure is to manufacture medications in factories before shipping them to pharmacies, doctors and hospitals. If you are able to print them, this opens up the ability to create production lines nearer the patient. This also means in theory, doctors will not need to wait too long for medications to arrive which in turn would assist patients.

Spritam is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2016, according to Aprecia. Exciting times ahead if this technique makes it to market and hopefully, it will be available to everyone, not just for the wealthy or patients willing to pay over the odds.

Breaking Bad would be a different TV series if they 3D printed everything.

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information

Meet Iko, the LEGO-Compatible Prosthetic Arm

This is Iko, the prosthetic arm that puts the ‘fun’ in functional. The artificial limb for kids has been designed to be compatible with the favourite toy of children and adults alike, LEGO, making it endlessly customisable.

Prosthetics have come a long way in the past few years, especially since the advent of 3D printing, which allow manufacturing to be not only cheap but has opened up the scope of potential designs and innovations.

Chicago-based Colombian designer Carlos Arturo Torres developed Iko during a six-month internship at LEGO, where he was exposed to the true extent of how that humble brick is able to foster social connections. “My friends in psychology used to tell me that when a kid has a disability, he is not really aware of it until he faces society,” Torres said. “That’s when they have a super rough encounter.” That’s why he chose LEGO to help kids with missing limbs build bridges and improve their self-esteem.

Torres returned to his home country to visit patients at Cirec, a rehabilitation clinic for kids with prosthetics. He met Dario, an 8-year-old boy who was left without a right forearm due to a congenital condition. “He was talking about the robot’s different features and pointed to a bionic eye,” Torres says of Dario. “He said the robot built it himself because he was the only one who knew what he needed. And that was like, boom.”

Iko is laced with LEGO-compatible studs, allowing the wearer to add LEGO bricks, parts, and minifigures to their hearts’ content. Though it is still in its prototype stage, Torres hopes the transformational power of LEGO will help change the lives of disadvantaged children in a way that a conventional prosthetic cannot. A friend of Dario, who had previously expressed pity over his condition, saw his playmate enjoying his Iko. “He said, ‘I want one of those,’” Torres beamed.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

3-Year-Old Chinese Girl Gets 3D Printed Titanium Skull

A 3-year-old girl in China has had her skull successfully replaced with a 3D printed aluminium alloy substitute in an operation that lasted 17 hours. The toddler, called Han Han, suffered from hydrocephalus – known as “water on the brain” for the fluid that collects around the organ – causing her head to swell up to four times its natural size.

The doctors at the Second People’s Hospital in Hunan Province used 3D scans of the girl’s head and a tomography scanner to create the titanium mesh pieces that replaced her upper skull. Surgeons detached the girl’s scalp, removed the top of her skull, drained the excess fluid around her brain, and rebuilt her head using the 3D printed segments.

“CT results showed that Han Han’s brain was filled 80 percent with water,”Dr. Bo of the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province said. “If she was not sent to hospital for treatment, Han Han would not have survived the summer. We had to first eliminate the infection in Han Han’s head because the brain wound area was too large, and we needed to do skin graft surgery and insert a shunt to help eliminate the infection, and remove the fluid from her brain.”

Though the surgery was successful, Han Han will require further operations as she matures in order to sustain her recovery. The surgery cost around 500,000 Chinese yuen (approximately $80,000), the funds for which were raised via a crowdfunding campaign.

Thank you RT for providing us with this information.

Lawsuit Filed Against 3D Printer MakerBot

3D printers are a good invention, but it sadly doesn’t print legally binding instructions with which companies should follow, well it probably does, but manufacturers will ignore them. It’s been alleged that 3D printing firm MakerBot has knowingly shipped a project which they knew did not work.

A lawsuit has been launched over MakerBot and parent company Stratasys over its fifth generation 3D printer, which is accused of shipping these units with flawed extruders, this is the mechanism which melts and deposits filament that is tending to clog. The company also told investors to expect over projected growth while at the same time cost cutting corners relating to quality, repairing returned units and also sacking workers.

By the time this came to light, investors had lost millions of dollars in expected revenue. By looking at the lawsuit, it immediately becomes clear something has gone drastically wrong. From flawed designs to expensive warranties, there is quite a bit which has been built up against MakerBot.

What this highlights is again for a company to over inflate its expectations while at the same time failing to deliver. These allegations have not yet been proven and still need to be laid out in a court of law; I do believe there is a case against MakerBot which if they lose, could be curtains for a company which attempted to make 3D printing mainstream while doing so at an unrealistic production price.

Thank You adafruit for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of engadget

66-Year-Old Man’s Rare Heart Condition Cured by 3D Printing

A specialized team of Doctors at UCLA recently performed a medical marvel thanks to the capabilities of 3D printing. One of their patients, Richard Whitaker had been suffering from a rare long-term heart condition and conventional procedures posed a significant risk of death. Whitaker’s suffering was caused by congestive heart failure which led to swollen ankles and extreme fatigue. In simple terms, his heart wasn’t circulating enough blood and this restricted the lungs’ air flow. Why? The pulmonary arteries were shockingly large and Doctors could only resort to an extreme space-age solution to save his life.

The Doctors at UCLA enlisted the help of Materialise to create a 3D printed model of Whitaker’s heart and test a variety of materials. This was a very unusual process and it was unknown which material would create the best replacement. A mock up was constructed to see the viability of the operation. The end result was a combination of silicone and harder materials to accurately depict the heart’s tissue. This graft was made through a CT scan of Whitaker’s chest to produce the best results.

So how does the operation actually work? The team had to carefully feed a valve and stent through a vein in Whitaker’s groin, up to his heart, using a catheter. Once this procedure was complete, the blood flow moved in a single direction and transported the proper amount of oxygen. Miraculously, Whitaker was ready to be discharged within a mere 4 days and elated with the results. He said “I didn’t miss a beat and was able to get back to my life quickly.”

It’s difficult to deduce if the operation through traditional means would have been successful and once again shows how 3D printing is possibly one of the most groundbreaking inventions humankind has ever devised. I’m happy to see Mr. Whitaker in good health and hope 3D modelling of organs will become cheaper, and more widespread to help those with chronic medical condition. The possibilities of 3D printing are endless and perhaps the future isn’t as bleak as it seems.

Thank you 3D Print for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of UCLA Health Science.

Zhuhai CTC To Unveil New 3D Printer

3D printing is promising to be the future tech of choice, the notion of printing a vast array of objects in your own living room appeals to a wide range of people and also sectors.

A company by the name of Zhuhai CTC Electronics who are notable 3D printer manufacturer based in China have confirmed that they will be unveiling a new “affordable” desktop 3D printing machine at the International Software Convergence & Innovation Expo, which is being held within a coastal city by the name of Qingdao eastern China in early July. According to reports, this will be the first high-resolution 3D printer which will be affordable for the average consumer. How affordable? Well the price with which this machine is being marketed at is around $1480 dollars, this is around £943.07, and of course this is assuming the price does not jump when it reaches the shores of the EU.

In order to achieve high user growth, the electronics firm has adopted the minimum layer detail thickness of 0.1mm which veers away from the common 0.025mm of similar 3D printers. This is not as detailed as the latter’s measurements, but this is what keeps this machine cheaper than its competitors.

As you can see below, this 3D printer is portable and will not take up much space, the specs which have been released for this potential machine is as follows.

Will it take off? This depends if consumers will adopt this new form of printing while having the ability to market a product at the price indicated when we are still very much in the midst of a flat lining economy. It’s a step forward for this new tech innovation, but adoption will need to be realistic until the price matches the budgets and expectations of a wider section of society

Thank You PR Newswire for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of tagloom  computerweekly and PR Newswire

Artists Recreate Animation Frame-by-Frame with 3D Printing Technology

Have you ever wondered how beautiful an animation can be? Well, now you can view it at its best, frame-by-frame, in the real world. The MOVE ON…! exhibition in Netherlands is apparently hosting a CGI animation which has been converted into a real-life frame-by-frame illustration of it using 3D printing technology.

The video below shows the progression of the character as he moves around the room, including the objects he interacts with.

“The whole animation is made in CGI, and we used a 3D printer to print each frame. The result is a weird string of characters in different poses. This explains the principles of animation beautifully, without a single bit actually moving. It is a static installation: a frozen movement. If you look closely, you can figure out what happened on that table.”

More pictures of the animation can be viewed below:

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Gun Group Refused Sale of Carbon Fibre 3D Printer; Offers $15K Reward for One

Fabrication startup MarkForged has excited many by developing the world’s 3D printer, the Mark One, that can produce items using carbon fibre; a material as light as plastic, but as tough as metal. US political group Defense Distributed were one such enthusiastic party, with organisation founder Cody Wilson placing a pre-order of $8,000 for the 3D printer.

However, after Wilson boasted about how he was to use the device to construct firearms, MarkForged cancelled his order, citing terms of service that forbid private citizens from using the printer to build guns. Now, Wilson has posted a video to YouTube, offering a $15,000 “bounty” to anyone who can get him a carbon fibre printer. In it he says, “I’m going to get this printer. I’m going to make a gun with it. And I’m going to make sure everyone knows it was made with a MarkForged printer.”

Defense Distributed has a history of trying to procure 3D printing technology to make its own firearms. The group had a firearm 3D printing fundraiser banned from IndieGoGo back in 2012, while Stratasys has refused a request from them to hire a 3D printer that it intended to use to manufacture guns.

MarkForged insists that, had the company known who was trying to purchase one, it would have denied the pre-order immediately, telling WIRED, “Our website automatically took Mr. Wilson’s pre-order, and we certainly regret that we did not catch this sooner. We are expediting his refund with interest.”

Source: WIRED

Royal Mail Embracing 3D Printing Technology, Wants to Custom Print Your Items

The Royal Mail has partnered with 3D printing specialist iMakr to install 3D printers at its New Cavendish Street delivery office, hoping to entice the public.

Customers can purchase custom designs or ready-to-print objects, and the pilot program could be rolled out nationwide based on demand.

Here is what Mike Newnham, Royal Mail chief customer officer, said in a statement:

“3D printing is an emerging technology that has many applications and offers an innovative way to create unique or personalized objects. It can be prohibitively expensive for consumers or small businesses to invest a 3D printer, so we are launching a pilot to gauge interest in 3D printing.”

Consumer 3D printers can be purchased in the UK, but prices typically top £1,000, not including required filaments. Analysts think it will take at least five years before the pricey custom printers become more commonplace among consumers, with price cuts necessary to increase interest.

The 3D printing market is growing as consumers become more aware of 3D-printed products – but high acquisition and start-up costs are delaying investments, according to the Gartner research group. In fact, 60 percent of organizations interested in 3D printing have delayed implementation because of such high start-up costs.

(Image courtesy of UK In The Press)

HP Seek 3D Printing Future With ‘Multi Jet Fusion’ Technology

HP are eager to be a big player in the 3D printing business, maybe so they can overcharge for the inks… just kidding. They’re eager to show the world their “Multi Jet Fusion” technology, which it believes can “change entire industries.”

The goal for HP, as is the goal for many 3D printing companies, is to make the process of 3D printing quicker, more accurate and more reliable. The new HP tech seems to do just that and HP have said they can make complex products such as gears at least 10x faster than conventional manufacturing techniques.

To show off the reliability and accuracy of their products, HP printed a product strong enough to life a car! Then they printed a part for their 3D printer, printed from the 3D printer the part was for just to show off the resolution; it worked. Maybe Stargate were right to fear the Replicators.

No word on pricing or if and when this technology will make its way to the consumer market, but manufacturers should start taking shipments in 2016.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Why Build A City In SimCity When You Can 3D Print it!?

If you’re a big SimCity fan then this latest use for 3D Printing could be right up your street. A designer called Ittyblox has produced modular buildings from the SimCity game using 3D Printing. As you might expect, they aren’t to scale, but if you like the novelty of having decorative gaming paraphernalia then these are pretty cool. There are a range of residential and commercial buildings up for grabs which you can arrange into the baseplates to form your own city. Trying to build yourself a full city-sized assortment could get quite expensive – you’d probably need to spend about €500 just to fill a decent sized coffee table or shelf. If there was ever a reason to go out and buy a 3D Printer, then this is certainly one of them.

The experience may not be quite as entertaining as playing SimCity on your PC, but at least you won’t run out of space……. right? (make those maps bigger Maxis!)

Source: Softpedia

Image #1 courtesy of Maxis, Image #2 courtesy Ittyblox

This 300w 3D Printed Wind Turbine Fits in Your Backpack

Portable energy generators are nothing new, we’ve seen hand wound, solar and wind power generators, not forgetting some of the more “traditional” ones such as diesel and petrol electricity generators. Each of these comes with a draw back, ones like the solar generators aren’t powerful enough for good levels of power generation, at least when the technology is scaled down to something you can put in your backpack. Diesel generators have the power, but are again to bulky and heavy to move and also require fuels, so they’re not exactly green friendly tech.

Omni3D think they have the solution with their AirEnergy 3D generator. The 3D printed wind turbine is capable of fitting in a backpack, but is able to produce up to 300W of power. That’s enough to charge all kinds of devices and for hard to reach areas that are eager for some renewable power sources, this could prove very popular indeed.

Omni3D are currently running this through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and the first models are expected to ship in February.

Thank you Kickstarter for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Kickstarter.

Disney Research Creates Impossible Spinning Tops

It isn’t easy to get an uneven object to spin, at least not for very long. We’ve all tried spinning our pen or what else is around us while on the phone or other down times. Disney Research employees must have done the same.

They have come up with a solution to make pretty much any shape spin stable for a longer period of time using 3D-printing technology. The idea behind it is, that if you have near-perfect control of the distribution of mass in an object, you can control its centre of gravity.

Using the knowledge of physics and just the right materials, Disney is able to 3D-print spinning-tops in pretty much any shape they can think of. In the demonstration video we see everything from spinning teapots, elephants, action figures and dancing Buddha’s.


The technique is quite impressive, and it isn’t hard to imagine how this will be turned into profit by the Cartoon giant. Sadly, it doesn’t look like any of the toys demonstrated in the video are going to be released for us to play with, that dancing Buddha was kinda cool.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Image and video courtesy of Disney. Now Selling Customisable 3D Printed Items

3D printing continues to shake up the world of manufacturing and has begun offering innovative and creative solutions for consumers. The latest to jump on the 3D printing trend is as they begin to offer customisable and pre-designed products that are 3D printed for you after you order them.

Amazon have set up a dedicated store front on their US site, which will allow you to browse over 200 products such as jewellery, homeware, toys and more. With the ability to customise the items so easily thanks to a simple user interface, it means you can create one of a kind items that would make great little gifts, or even just something for fun.

The site comes with a 3D mockup of what you’re creating too, so you can check every detail of what you are about to order before it is sent off to the printers and with a company as big as Amazon behind it, it’s got a great chance of being a big success.

Check out the official store front here and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Man Breaks Into Neighbor’s Apartment Using His Phone and An App

Andy Greenberg from Wired has apparently shown us how easy it is to break in someone’s house nowadays. You don’t need sophisticated lock-picking skills or need to be a professional thief to do it. All you need is an app and an iPhone, as he puts it.

Greenberg used an app called KeyMe, which lets users 3D scan any key and uploads the images to the company’s cloud. Once that is done, you can head over to either one of their kiosks or order a 3D printed copy online.

He apparently went to his neighbor’s appartment, 3D scanned his key in a few seconds using the app and told him that he will be back in his apartment the next day ‘uninvited’. His neighbor did not believe him at first (who would believe you when saying you will break an entry with an iPhone?), but it did surprise him the day after.

KeyMe, KeyDuplicated and Keysave are apps that serve pretty much the same purpose, which is scanning keys. Some even let you scan more complex keys, such as car keys, having KeyMe stating it will even duplicate keys that “do not duplicate”. The service however describes the scanning process to be more complicated than just point the camera and take a picture.

KeyMe states that in order to duplicate a key, customers need to take it off the keychain, scan it on both sides against a white background and from approximately 4 inches away. However, Greenberg told that he did not follow any of the rules when he made his ‘stairwell creep-scans’.

With so many app alternatives and 3D printing aid nowadays, every commercially available piece of tech can be used to break into houses, amongst other ‘unintended’ uses. As Greenberg stated, breaking an entry nowadays has proven to be quite “idiot-proof”.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information

Entire Country Gets Printed In 3D At 1:10,000 Scale

3D Printing can be used to do a lot of cool things, that’s one of the reasons that the technology has become so popular. The latest use for 3D Printing is pretty darn cool, and has certainly interested someone like myself who is a graduate from a Geography degree. Micro CADD Services (MCS) has printed a to-scale 3D Map of the entire country of Bahrain. The scale used is 1:10,000 in order to keep the size manageable but the idea of 3D Printing maps could be very revolutionary and inspiring for a range of use-cases. As if maps weren’t already at the heart of our daily lifestyles in pretty much everything we do, now it is possible to get your hands on 3D printed versions/

I’d certainly like to have a 3D Printed map of the United Kingdom or at least London, here’s to hoping that the novel idea catches on!

Pretty cool huh? What would you print a 3D map of if you could?

Source: 3DPrint

Images courtesy of 3DPrint

Solderdoodle, a USB Rechargeable Wireless Soldering Iron

It seems I have to crack out my dusty old soldering iron less and less these days, but the one thing that really bugs me about having to use it is that it has to be plugged in; I have to create a work space and move what ever I am doing to a suitable area to use the soldering iron.

The Solderdoodle looks set to solve this problem by offering up a simple, open source device that can be part-made from a 3D printer, is USB rechargeable, doesn’t require mains power and can be easily transported for use on the go. The 18.8cm device runs from a USB rechargeable lithium Ion battery which can charge from a standard USB port on a laptop, desktop computer, mains adapter or similar device that have a USB 2.0 Type A connection. It takes three hours to charge and is said to last “hours” on a single charge.

Personally I think the best part is that it uses a standard soldering tip, so you can go down to your local hardware store and pick up replacement tips, no need for propitiatory hardware! The only downside is that it’ll only reach 500f (260c), which means it can’t handle non-leaded solder, but for something this portable I don’t really care, as it looks idea for those little electronic patch jobs that were just impractical with a wired soldering iron.

Thank you Instructables for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Instructables.

Australian University 3D Printing Body Parts for Medical Schools

There is a growing need for dead bodies in medical science, but since the profession is focused on saving lives and helping people live longer, there are less cadavers stacking up for medical research than required… which when you think about it, is not really a bad thing. Fortunately for medical researchers and scientists, a team at Monash University in Australia has a solution to the problem, 3D print the body parts required for their research!

The university has just announced the availability of their first commercially available kit, which comes with 3D printed anatomical body parts for education and training purposes. The 3D Printed Anatomy Series doesn’t use human tissue, but does come complete with printed limbs, chest, abdomen, head and neck.

“Many medical schools report either a shortage of cadavers, or find their handling and storage too expensive as a result of strict regulations governing where cadavers can be dissected” said Professor Paul McMenamin in a statement.

The obvious advantage here is that parts are reusable, store for a long time compared to a dead body, are cheaper to obtain, can be produced on demand and dispatched around the world. Of course they’re not ideal for all kinds of research, but it’s certainly going to help and pretty much any medical school with a 3D printer could start producing their own models as required.

Thank you Venture Beat for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Venture Beat.