3D Printing News

Microsoft Works on a 3D Photo App

3D photo apps for smartphones: currently it surely is a big, massive hype. Only a couple of days ago, we wrote an article about a new Kickstarter initiative LazeeEye, and Google is currently working on Project Tango, a phone app that can map the entire space around a user. Microsoft didn’t want to stay behind, as they have now announced an app to accurately 3D scan people’s faces. Microsoft Research has said that their app will eventually allow users to make a high quality 3D print of their heads.

With a 3D scanner, they will be able to scan a person’s face from different angles, something which is also called 3D reconstruction. Already a variety of parties are working on this technique, but Microsoft wants to add something to the game by making their app as simple as taking a regular picture. The team writes: “the Skynet UI design aims to enhance user experience to lower the barriers between common consumers and 3D reconstruction.”

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Staples Experiments With U.S. 3D Printing Service Points

It’s 2014 and 3D printing has become something big companies want to experiment with. Amazon, Hema and even Hershey’s: they are all giant chains, which are trying their luck with additive manufacturing. Office chain Staples is one of them and the company has been experimenting with 3D printing in Europe. It’s now expanding its services to the United States, where the company has started offering two 3D printing services in New York City and Los Angeles. Customers can print out their own designs in these stores.

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They are currently pilot stores, but if they prove to become successful further service points may be added in different American stores, so says the company. For this service, the company is working together with 3D printing giant 3D Systems.

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We Interviewed a Manufacturer of 3D Printed Ukuleles

A week ago we found out about Realize, Inc., a company which produces 3D printed ukuleles – in conjunction with Outdoor Ukulele. And while the sound of most 3D printed instruments doesn’t even come close to that of their handcrafted counterparts, the additive manufactured ukulele actually sounded surprisingly good.

The 3D printed ukulele is made of plastic, but you can hardly see that this is an actual prototype of an instrument. This is also contributed to the fact that the instrument has a very clean sound, which is getting closer and closer to the sound of an actual, handcrafted ukulele. Apparently, this has also been the goal of the team, as they wanted to produce a 3D printed ukulele in the exact same scale of a handmade one. Every detail, including the frets and suchlike, were copied from a regular model.

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Talking 3D Printing With Authentise

3D printing and the copyright law: it’s a difficult marriage. When normally a 3D print file is out on the internet, everyone is free to use it to print out their own object. In other words: the open-source world makes it hard to make money out of 3D print files. Authentise however is a promising company that wants to add some structure to the online jungle, by adding a streaming service to the 3D printing world.

Let’s first explain something more about Authentise: this company uses an approach to 3D printing which is similar to Spotify’s approach to pop music or Netflix’s approach to movies and series. It makes it impossible for customers to store and share 3D print files from companies. This means brands such as Disney could offer their 3D print files online, after which users can download them and get their Mickey Mouse figurines printed on their own 3D printer. After this printing process no file will remain to be shared. This means in a future world big companies might more and more implement a 3D files service instead of selling actual objects in stores. The company has launched its first API to stream 3D print files: a perfect occasion to have a little chat with their CEO Andre Wegner.

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“3D Printed Heart Tested In a Human in Less Than a Decade”

The possibility to 3D print organs: that’s by far the most interesting part of 3D printing. Of course there is an ethical question to be asked, namely: how far can we go? Should we aim at 3D printing ourselves? Important questions, but the reality is that we’re not even close to 3D printing ourselves, as that’s still something odd and futuristic.

Nevertheless, we’re getting closer, as doctors and researchers at the University of Louisville are now working on a system to 3D print a heart. The team expects to be able to print and assemble parts of the heart in three to five years, in order to test them in a human in less than 10 years.

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LazeeEye: “3D Photo App for the Masses”

In February, we wrote something about a new project by Google, called Project Tango. This is a phone that can map the entire space around a user. However, this revolutionary project requires an entirely new smartphone and the system will be very pricey, just like similar systems such as Kinect and other 3D projects. A new Kickstarter initiative, LazeeEye  by Heuristic Labs therefore aims to reduce costs for 3D images on phones, creating a new 3D photo app.

What the LazeeEye does is upgrading your smartphone into a 3D camera, therefore using a laser illuminator hardware add-on as well as a stereo vision processing app. The name is a combination of ‘laser’ and ‘eye’, meaning a camera normally only has a single eye, but is now provided with a second laser eye. The eye, which normally is ‘lazy’, can use this second eye to get a 3D perception of what it sees.

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EU Works on Food Printer to Create Personalized Meals for the Elderly

Recently Natural Machines made the news with more detailed specifications about their long-expected healthy food printer, which will be released later on this year. The news was remarkable, as food printing today mainly refers to producing less healthy products, such as chocolatessweets and space pizzas. Now, only two weeks later, another party is trying the healthier side of food printing. And not just some party, because it’s the European Union, working on a food printer to prepare personalized meals for the elderly.

This project regards to an older target group, as in 2025 one in five citizens in the EU will be 65-years-old and over. The general problem with this group is that a lot of them will undergo difficulties swallowing their food. This condition is called dysphagia and studies show that today 15 to 25 percent of all people over 50 years suffer from such a condition. The problem however is that the same group has a higher risk of getting sick in some way, which often requires specialized diets. If someone can’t swallow properly, then that surely is a problem.

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10 Remarkable Things That Were 3D Printed This Year

April: it feels like 2014 has just started, but the first quarter is already lying behind us. And as 3D printing developments go faster than a cannonball, the end of this first quarter is the perfect occasion to look back on the last months and check out a selection of 10 of the most remarkable things that were 3D printed in 2014. From a 3D printed kayak to a brand new woman’s skull.

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This is the First Tattoo Made by a 3D Printer

If you’re a fan of tattoos, then you’ll probably think it requires the precise work of a tattoo artist. I mean: tattooing is considered art, and art needs to be created by an artist, isn’t it? Well, French students will surely disagree with you on that, as they have built the first automatic tattoo machine from a 3D printer.

The French students, Pierre Emm, Piotr Widelka and Johan Da Silveira, joined a cultural challenge, which was organized by Paris design school ENSCI les Ateliers. It was their goal to show that a machine is perfectly capable of accurately tattooing a person. The team had found a volunteer to get the first-ever tattoo by a 3D printer on his forearm and they were given eight hours to build the machine. During those hours, they managed to hack a MakerBot 3D printer and they successfully set up their own digital program for the tattooing process. The printer used a normal pen to perform the tattooing.

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The Micro: 3D Printing’s New Beatles?

3D printers can be good fun, but not to many. The overall problem with the machines is their high price. A new printer however is called The Micro 3D (M3D), which aims to become the first consumer 3D printer. Initially, early birds were even able to buy one for as few as 199 dollars. The Micro has had a very successful Kickstarter champaign, which is still running, and they funded 50,000 dollars in only 11 minutes. Will The Micro become The Beatles of the 3D printers?

That could very well be the case, as this machine offers handy solutions, being an energy efficient, compact machine, which 3D prints several materials. From little objects to jewelry and even food: the makers of this printer now claim that their machine can print it all out. In addition, the machine has already printed out a vase and chocolate figurines.

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