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You can 3D-print that?

You Can 3D-Print That?

The world of 3D printing is growing and changing rapidly, with radical new innovations in the news every day. Here are just a few of the latest printing breakthroughs happening around the world.

3D and medicine

  • Medical labs may soon print out human skin. A team of Madrid scientists developed a 3D bioprinter that can print functional, healthy skin made from a patient’s own cells (which means their body won’t reject it). It’s a huge advancement for patients who need skin transplants and has commercial uses, like chemical testing. In fact, its makers believe it could potentially end animal testing in the cosmetics industry.
  • Roller coasters are fun; kidney stones are not. Yet many kidney stone sufferers claim that they’ve passed a stone after riding a roller coaster. Researchers at Michigan State University wanted to see if there was really a correlation—so they printed out a kidney and took it for a roller coaster ride. Sixty rides later, the urine-filled kidney indeed passed a stone more than half of the time.

3D and science and aerospace

  • Boeing has debuted its Starliner spaceship, which includes more than 600 3D-printed parts. While 3D printing has been used on airplanes and jets before, this is the first time it’s being used on a space vehicle. Besides being more economical, the parts are 60% lighter than traditionally-manufactured ones—and when you’re trying to launch into space, every ounce counts.
  • If we ever colonize Mars or the moon, how will we build structures there? Northwestern University researchers are using simulated lunar and Martian soil to 3D print flexible objects that could be used to make interplanetary habitats someday. And they’re not the only ones: An Austrian company 3D printed a miniature igloo out of a material called “Mars dust” that simulates what we'd use on the Red Planet.

3D fun (it’s for science, after all)

  • Ready for a totally lifelike printout of… your face? The Bellus3D Face Camera can give you a copy of yourself to admire. It has an infrared scanner that you attach to your mobile phone that pinpoints half a million hotspots on your face, then sends you a hi-res file to print on your 3D printer. Pretty neat, although there's no specific use for it yet (other than potentially scaring your neighbors).
  • Cheese, glorious cheese. Or is it? This 3D-printed substance uses the ingredients of processed cheese to reform it into whatever edible shape you'd like. Researchers in Ireland think 3D printers will become a common kitchen appliance in the future, and they're working on additional types of dairy treats that you can print at home.

HP and 3D

  • Have a great idea you'd like to prototype for your business? Want to try out some of the cool new industrial 3D software out there? HP Jet Fusion 3D printers will help you reinvent digital production on demand.
  • Great ideas can't become 3D-printed realities without the right materials. That's where the new HP 3D Open Materials and Applications Lab comes in. Located in Corvallis, Oregon, it's the first state-of-the-art laboratory designed to help companies develop, test, certify, and deliver the next generation of materials and applications for 3D printing.

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