A regular map is nothing more than a flat micro reproduction of a region or a country. Very useful, but if we look at it from an artistic angle, then some improvements could be made. Micro CADD Services (MCS) probably thought the same and therefore designed a 3D version of a landscape of the entire country of Bahrain, using a Matrix 300+ paper 3D printer by Mcor Technologies. In other words: they managed to 3D print a landscape of an entire country solely using paper.
They 3D printed a 1:10,000-scale model of the island Bahrain. It, however, is not a regular map you could easily take with you while visiting the island, as it measures 5.4 meters long by 2.2 meters wide. Nevertheless, the country’s national and local leaders are interested in the map and it might as well take the place of traditional counterparts while planning future events.
BMW has come up with something interesting, combining 3D printing technology with ecology. They’ve been working together with Swedish architect Erik Melldahl to design what they’ve called Maaisaica, a 3D printed BMW car, which uses degradable materials. It was built in Sarengeti in Africa and Melldahl got his inspiration from the Maaisai culture as well as new ways of manufacturing.
They’ve created a concept, which has to go to the Maasai tribe in Serengeti. The striking thing is that this car uses lots of degradable materials. The main body of the car is made of a mixture of mycelium mushrooms and grass and this is grown on top of a 3D printed structure. In only a few days, this degradable structure can be printed. The vehicle uses a membrane, which collects fog during the night and creates a self-sufficient system to cool the motor and greenhouse. This water can also be used to collect water for nearby villages.
Apparently a little problem for today’s medical students is that there are a lot of them while people are living longer, which means there’s less material for medical education. Of course this isn’t a real problem, as it’s basically the medical world’s goal to make us live longer, but those students have to learn their techniques in some kind of way. Monash University in Australia therefore found the answer: 3D printed body parts.
In a press release, they’ve announced that they have now brought a commercially available anatomical body parts kit to the market, which can be used by medical students and is not just useful, but also soft-effective. The cadaver has 3D printed items such as limbs, a chest, a head, abdomen and a neck. It, however, does not feature human tissue.
It’s becoming easier and easier to buy a 3D printer. This Monday, Home Depot Inc., which is the world’s largest home-improvement chain, has started selling 3D printers by MakerBot in twelve of their stores in California, Illinois and New York. In addition, you will also be able to buy a MakerBot on their website. Home Depot is following the example of chains such as Hema, Staples and Amazon, who recently started flirting with the technique.
For Home Depot this will be a pilot, where they could test whether selling 3D printers will be successful or not. The company also hopes that it puts them on the forefront of a new technique, and it makes them the next giant company to jump on the bandwagon of 3D printing technology.
In Japan they’re not really fans of 3D printed vaginas, as we learned from yesterday’s bizarre story. Marriage, however, seems to be something the Japanese are much more into. 3D printing company Morisaki Jushi jumps on the bandwagon with their new project ‘Mariage Poupée’, which is French for “marriage doll”. To be a little more specific: the Japanese company enables marriage couples to get a 3D print of themselves.
Of course the technique isn’t something new, and on a global scale many parties are working with this technique. A perfect example comes from retailer Hema, which lets customers use a scan lounge to get a 3D print of themselves. But thanks to parties such as Morisaki Jushi, the concept is now also being applied to the field of marriages. Whether you find it shoddy or romantic, the technique behind it is surely interesting.
3D printing can sometimes be a little controversial. There surely are questions to be asked, such as can we morally 3D print guns or is it ok to 3D print Chinese cultural artifacts? However, this story about a 42-year-old Japanese woman will certainly be the weirdest you will read about in weeks. Megumi Igarashi, who goes under the name Rokudenashiko, is an artist from Japan who has been arrested under suspicion of selling 3D print files from her vagina via e-mail to 30 people.
So, good question: what is the general idea behind this? Well, at first it’s good to know that the vagina is something Japanese people do not like to talk about at all. There’s kind of a stigma attached to talking about the subject, while apparently chatting about penises is not a biggie for the Japanese. They even seem to organize a penis festival every year (seriously, check out that link). Rokudenashiko used to not talk about vaginas as well, but at a certain time she decided this prudishness had to come to an end. Or in her own words: she thought vaginas had to be demystified.
For most of us, watching antique teacups behind glass walls in museums has never been our favorite thing to do, and Dutch designer Maaike Roozenburg shared these feelings. Old functional objects could never come to life if we can only look at them. She therefore decided to do something about it and came up with the expression ‘smart replicas’.
So what are smart replicas? Thanks to 3D printing technology she was able to make a replica of each object, after which she added a layer of augmented reality information. The information from each piece could thereafter be accessed via smartphone or tablet, which makes the dull, old teacups come to life for visitors.
You probably know Marcel Duchamp from his toilet as a piece of art, but did you know he also produced two chess sets during his days? He made one in 1943, which was released as a limited edition, and another one in 1918, which is owned by a private collector and can’t be seen by the public. But as 3D printing has potential to become the democratization of art, the technique was used to get Duchamp’s 1918 set to the public. In other words: you can now 3D print your own version of the chess set.
Despite the chess set was initially not meant to become part of the public domain, artists Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera wanted to enable the masses to 3D print the chess set. But how could you do something like that if you can’t scan the actual chess set? Well, you have to be smart for this, and they were. They used an archival photograph and ran a a series of algorithms on the image. This enabled them to get a good model of each chessman, including the knight, which was the hardest to get. They used the 3D models to print out the actual chessmen.
3D printing has proven its relevance for the Western world the past several years, but if the technique could enable us to also help other countries to further develop, then its impact could be enormous. One of the things the technique could help the third world with is providing for houses. Lots of interesting companies are currently working on 3D printed housing projects and Italian WASProject is new on the radar.
WASProject stands for World’s Advanced Saving Project. What they basically do is developing innovative 3D printers, such as the POWERWASP and the DeltaWASP. The first printer is a combination of a 3D printer and a CNC milling machine and the second one is able to print in a large variety of materials. The organization produces these printers to make money to produce bigger ones, which they eventually could use to provide for housing in the Third World.
When it comes to news about wars, stories are often focussed on the mortality rate. Obviously, this is a very important part of wars and something which needs to be reported of. However, the world sometimes forgets about the wounded soldiers. The number of U.S. soldiers with serious injuries has increased, according to Michael Romanko, an official at the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) by the Department of Defence. The U.S. army therefore wants to try its luck with bioprinting.
The U.S. army currently invests in the technique and is investigating how it could help them to treat wounds. By printing skin cells on the patient, they hope to be able to recover wounds fully. Burns, which account for 10 to 30 percent of all war injuries, could potentially be recovered by bioprinting news layers of skin. The aforementioned AFIRM was therefore established in 2008. It is a network of universities, military laboratories and investigators and they focus on fields such as skin repair.