3 Cool Things People are Doing with 3D Printing

2 sessions ago, we covered 3D printing and I am obsessed with it. Creating something in 3D space is so cool. The first thing I’ve made is a pig and I love it. As a result of this new found interest, I started looking into what’s happening in the industry and found some really amazing things that have happened recently.

#3: Space Art

The first piece of art to be made in space was launched into orbit on February 10th. The sculpture is a 3D printed sound wave of a person’s laugh. After a contest where people voted on their favourite looking soundwave, the model was sent to the International Space Station (ISS), where it was printed on the on their 0 gravity 3d printer, which is usually used for printing spare parts.The project which was a collaboration between Made in Space(the company who produced the ISS’ 3D printer) and artist Eyal Gever is now being called the “Laugh Star”.This project is a great example of all types of technology (crowdsourcing, 3D printing, and space travel) coming together to create something out of this world.

#2: Camera Lens’ for Drones

German researchers have developed a camera lens for drones that closely mimics the way human eyes see, allowing for a sharper image. Using four tiny (300 micrometres in area total) lenses each with a different aperture (Aperture refers to the size of the lens opening. This determines how much light is let in, which determines how in focus an object is.). The four cameras create 4 rings of focus, each a slightly less focused image. This is similar to the way the human eye works, focused at the centre with a weak peripheral vision. These lenses are printed directly on an image processor, the first time something like this has ben successfully completed. This setup also requires less image processing, though the lenses can only be printed using one type of plastic, which doesn’t yield the best results.

#1: 3D Vertebrae Implant

In India, Doctors managed to rebuild the spine of a woman suffering from spinal tuberculosis. Spinal Tuberculosis is a disease that destroys the bone between the spinal disks and causes the spine to collapse on itself due to a lack of support. Doctors took MRI and CT scans of the patient’s spine and converted it to a 3D model. They then 3D printed the artificial spine parts using titanium. After a 10 hour surgery, the reconstruction was complete. It allowed the patient to regain mobility. This kind of procedure has long reaching implications for the future of reconstructive surgery and what kinds of things will soon be possible.

3D Printed Spine|andreas kofner via flickr

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