Aug 22, 2017 | By David

Here’s a round-up of some recent 3D printing stories you might have missed, including Aether receiving funding from the Gates Foundation for a new 3D bio-printing project, RESA Wearables introducing retail kiosks in China for 3D printed custom orthotic insoles, and more besides.

1. Aether to collaborate with University of South Australia on new 3D bio-printing project

Based in San Francisco, Aether is a tech start-up known for creating the Aether 1 Bio-printer, the world’s most advanced 3D bio-printer. The company recently announced that it will be teaming up with researchers from the University of South Australia on a new bio-printing project that is being funded by a grant from the Gates Foundation.

The research will be in the field of contraception. The goal of this ambitious project is to develop a 3D bio-printed in vitro oviduct model that can reproduce the spermatozoa capacitation process for the screening of novel drugs and natural product libraries, to target spermatozoa capacitation in the oviduct as a new contraceptive paradigm. The in vitro oviduct model will be used to identify male-specific contraceptive targets that prevent spermatozoa capacitation. The contraceptive will only affect the male spermatozoa, and will have limited effect on the female physiology or endocrinology.

According to project leader Dr. Anton Blencowe, "The Aether printer will complement our existing facilities and add new, unparalleled capabilities, allowing us to print more complex and intricate 3D cell constructs, enabling us to target more realistic and functional screening platforms. In particular, the Aether printer will contribute to our ongoing DAAD collaboration, and Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges Project to develop 3D bioprinted screening platforms for contraceptive discovery. We are very excited to be working with the Aether Team to develop new applications for their printers, and are grateful for the team's support and the Australian Government's National Innovation and Science Agenda Global Connection fund for supporting this collaborative effort."

2. iBUS launches platform for production of custom 3D printed toys

A unique new online platform has been established that gives consumers a direct role in the design of toys. iBUS was conceived as a way of integrating additive manufacturing into the supply chain for toy manufacturing, and enabling the production of customised toys. iBUS’s intuitive interface allows users to combine and modify different parts of a basic toy in a virtual environment. One train toy, for example, offered 256 different variations on its basic design. The direct, cost-effective manufacturing process provided by 3D printing technology allows these designs to be easily realized, and customers can then receive these 3D printed toys, made-to-order.

According to Jon Cobb, executive vice president of corporate affairs at 3D printing company Stratasys, the flexibility offered by 3D printing technology has the potential to revolutionize the toy industry: "I think children have a creative need to try to do something different so I think 3D printing with the capability of scanning or taking input from digital data makes it relatively simple to do customization of the product.”

The main challenge faced by the project is making sure it abides by safety regulations. Changing the structure of a toy design can have effects on safety issues, and this is something that should be taken into account in future software modules and iterations of the platform. The iBUS project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

3. RESA Wearables to introduce retail kiosks for 3D printed custom orthotic insoles

RESA Wearables, founded in 2016, uses 3D printing technology and its employees’ considerable medical and retail expertise to produce convenient and effective solutions for people’s footcare needs. The company recently announced an exciting new venture in collaboration with Chinese materials provider Shenzhen eSUN Industrial Co., Ltd. The partnership, known as Shenzhen Resun Healthcare Technology, will introduce kiosks into major retail centers in China to provide customers with custom-made orthotic insoles.

3D printed insoles can customize a shoe's footbed shape and pressure factors, effectively adjusting the hardness and stiffness of different parts of the feet, which can help patients suffering from foot pain. The new retail kiosks will feature high-accuracy 3D foot scanning with dynamic capture and mapping of the digital image, artificial intelligence CAD insole design software, and on-site 3D insole printing technology. Customers can have their feet scanned, custom insoles designed to their exact foot shape, and a pair of medical-grade, fully custom insoles 3D printed right in front of them, all within an hour.

"The Chinese market has a rich history of being interested in body alignment and wearable technology products," says RESA Wearables, Inc. Founder and CEO Glen Hinshaw.  "This joint venture will enable us to help advance the way that Chinese people understand and address their foot care needs and how they access the products they require for optimal foot health and physical comfort and performance."

4. Polish/Swedish startup Skriware launches educational program for teaching of 3D printing skills

Skriware is a Polish-Swedish startup that has created a fully integrated educational eco-system consisting of an intuitive and easy-to-use 3D printer, an online 3D model library, a virtual 3D playground, and an e-learning platform. The company’s goal is to help students develop their interdisciplinary skills through the process of designing, building and programming robots.

A new initiative just launched by Skriware in collaboration with Dartmouth College is intended to further encourage the development of STEAM skills. The program, which is scheduled launch by the end of the year, should allow thousands of participants to gain the qualifications required by the workplaces of the future. The core part of this new program will be an e-learning platform, which will enable users to upload the robotic models they previously designed in the 3D creator, print them with the Skriware 3D printers, and control and program them with a dedicated mobile app.

According to Karol Górnowicz, CEO of Skriware, ‘‘Every single robot available on the platform is designed to help develop STEAM skills. We want to inspire our users to take creative action and realize unconventional ideas by engaging into designing, building and coding their own, personalized robot. Our goal is to prove that the development of competencies across robotics, programming, and 3D modeling – encompassing both technical and artistic skill set – is an excellent investment in the future and a fun way to realize their potential.’’



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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