July 24, 2015 | By Simon

Although having the ability to create literally any shape of a plastic or metal part on-demand using a 3D printer has revolutionized multiple industries ranging from consumer product design to healthcare and even the ability to manufacture goods in space, there are still many factors involved with creating functional goods that 3D printing lacks.  Ultimately, giving users the ability to print in multiple materials including electronics is a capability that would allow consumers to literally be able to print ready-to-use products - electronics included - on demand.

Among others who have explored the concept of bringing a multi-material electronics computer to market include Dr. Jennifer A. Lewis, a professor of biologically-inspired engineering at Harvard University who founded the startup Voxel8 late last year with the goal of commercializing a new platform for 3D printing including functional materials, printing hardware and intelligent software.  The company’s mission is to enable designers and engineers of all skill levels to print embedded conductors, wires, and batteries into the normal matrix materials of 3D printing.

Today, the Massachusetts company announced that they have raised an impressive $12 million through a round of Series A funding to further develop their additive manufacturing technology in an effort to bring it to market in the form of a commercialized product.  The funding was led by ARCH Venture Partners and Braemar Energy Ventures, who were also joined by In-Q-Tel and Autodesk through their Spark Investment Fund that aims to help launch disruptive additive manufacturing technologies.  

Voxel8 successfully launched a pre-order program and developers kit at the Computer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, where the company was highlighted as “one of the 9 best ideas from CES 2015” by Fast Company. Voxel8 was also selected as a Gold Medal winner in the 2015 Edison Awards and was recently featured in MIT Technology Review Magazine’s “50 Smartest Companies of 2015."

“Instead of printing a plastic part that’s useful as a prototype, or useful as jewelry or art, Voxel8 really enables the printing of functional parts that have electronics embedded in them,” says ARCH managing director Clint Bybee. “This is really the first time that this capability has been brought to market.”    

The company has already received pre-orders from a wide range of labs and R&D departments from companies in multiple industries including aerospace, automotive,  consumer product design, defense, medical devices, and apparel industries, among others.  If the early interest from each of these industries is any indication, then the Voxel8 is already set to be a hit and could disrupt an already disruptive technology.  

“It’s going to be really exciting to see the next generation electronics products that are enabled by this type of technology,” says company co-founder Dan Oliver. “Our goal is to get this technology in the hands of high-level innovators on the design and engineering side to allow them to experiment and prototype with it.    

So far, early users of the Voxel8 printers have been able to create a number of electronic objects that are commonly used by consumers today including hearing aids and quadcopter drones - however the possibilities are seemingly endless.  

“It’s very gratifying to see innovations from the lab advancing so quickly, and this new round of funding will help us accelerate the process of bringing this novel technology to market,” added Lewis. ​

When it’s released, the printer will sell for $8,999, which will include all of the necessary material needed for up to 20 3D prints as well as complementary Autodesk 3D modeling software for creating the designs.  According to Oliver, the company plans on shipping the first shipment of the printers by the end of 2015. 

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Company

 

 

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nick wrote at 7/27/2015 8:48:20 AM:

what degrees do most of you guys have?

MRPEasy.com wrote at 7/25/2015 11:46:42 AM:

Are VCs too optimistic?



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