Mar. 5, 2015

Voxel8, creator of the world's first multi-material 3D electronics printer, announced today that it has closed a strategic investment and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel (IQT), the investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Based in Somerville, Mass., Voxel8 is a startup company that is bringing novel materials to 3D printing. Founded by Dr. Jennifer A. Lewis, Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Voxel8 is commercializing a new platform for 3D printing including functional materials, printing hardware and intelligent software. The company enables designers and engineers to print embedded conductors, wires, and batteries into the normal matrix materials of 3D printing for the first time.

Launched in 1999 as an independent, not-for-profit organization, In-Q-Tel (IQT) was created to bridge the gap between the technology needs of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) and emerging commercial innovation. "We identify and invest in venture-backed startups developing technologies that will provide "ready-soon innovation" (within 36 months) vital to the IC mission. These technology startups are traditionally outside the reach of the IC; in fact, more than 70 percent of the companies that IQT invests in have never before done business with the government." writes IQT on its website.

Though CIA remains its primary partner, IQT also supports other agencies within the IC, such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T). The company is focused on new and emerging commercial technologies that have the potential to give the CIA and broader U.S. Intelligence Community mission-advantage in the future.

"We are pleased to be partnering with Voxel8 to further develop its multi-material 3D printing technology," said Megan Anderson, Vice President of Field Deployable Technologies at IQT. "The customization enabled by Voxel8's technology allows users to quickly create new devices without the inconvenience of tooling, inventory, and supply chains associated with traditional manufacturing methods."

"I am excited to leverage over a decade of research to transform the way devices are manufactured," said Dr. Lewis, "Through the support of investors like In-Q-Tel, we are able to bring our ground-breaking technology to the mass market."

3D printing is the process of fabricating 3D solid objects from digital computer models. Dr. Lewis' research has expanded 3D printing to a far more sophisticated level. Her unique prototyping platform can pattern a broad array of functional materials under ambient conditions with features as tiny as one micron (less than one 25,000th of an inch) over areas as large as the top of a square coffee table, all in a matter of minutes. Once deposited, the inks solidify very rapidly, enabling the creation of intricate spanning and self-supporting structures, even at a microscopic scale.

Voxel8's desktop 3D electronics printer features dual material capabilities by combining a Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) printhead with a conductive silver ink printhead.

Lewis and her team have created highly conductive inks that can be printed at room temperature and seamlessly integrated with a broad array of matrix materials. According to the company, their silver ink is 20,000x more conductive than the most conductive filled-thermoplastic filaments and more than 5000x more conductive than carbon-based inks (e.g., Bare Conductive).

Voxel8 inks are specifically formulated for deposition through a 250 micron nozzle. Once applied, they dry quickly at room temperature and they don't require post-processing. These properties allow their conductive inks to be co-printed with traditional thermoplastic materials. 3D electronics printing requires the ability to insert multiple components within a part during the printing process. Voxel8's device has a highly repeatable, magnetically kinematic coupled bed that allows you to take the bed off, insert the components such as an LED or sensor, and then continue printing the part right where it left off.

The potential uses for this technique are broad and include printed electronics, 3D polymer scaffolds for tissue engineering, and advanced materials for energy harvesting and storage.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Codemite wrote at 3/5/2015 10:59:01 PM:

$9K. Way over priced. Only the CIA can afford them with our tax dollars.

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