Amazon Opens Its First 3D Printing Store

3D Printing at Amazon

There is a wide adoption of 3D printing today. Over the last few months, there have been many firms  that have adopted 3D printing and one of them is Amazon.com.  Amazon is the biggest online store in the world and it offers different products and services. Recently, it has added cheap 3D printing service  that provides 200 customized on-demand print products.

The 3D printer cost is still high particularly high-end and precise 3D printers. For this reason, Amazon wanted to bring 3D printing to those who cannot afford to buy their own machine. The 3D printed products can be personalized and can range from dog tags, iPhone sleeves and bobble heads.

Amazon has partners with Sculpteo Mixy Labs and 3DLT which are 3D printing companies that will be responsible in printing the customers’ orders. The thing is that Amazon will not be involved with the production process. This means that it is helping startup companies like 3DLT and Sculpteo Mixy Labs. This is also the reason the 3D printer cost is also very competitive.

The new Amazon store will feature user-friendly design templates where clients can put their individual style on each item that they create.  It also comes with a 3D product viewer where clients can view the output as a 360-degree virtual model. Once the client is okay with the design,  the item needs to be checked out so that the partner company can print the items on demand before shipping to the clients. With these high-tech features, who would have thought that the new Amazon store offers very cheap 3D printing products.

The 3D printer cost can be very expensive for now and  it is the reason why Amazon’s new store will become popular among people who want to try get cheap 3D printing items but cannot afford to buy their own printers.

UK Hospitals Now Use 3D Printed Models To Try Implants Before Actual Surgery

3D printed models are no longer used to make useless prototypes of things. In the UK,  hospitals now use models to help surgeons test implants as well as plan surgeries before the actual operation begins. The company behind this is Replica 3DM which specializes in medical 3D printing in the country.

According to Replica 3DM managing director Matthew Sherry, the company wanted to set up a 3D printing hub for hospitals that cannot afford 3D printing equipments. The company provides cheaper and better medical 3D services to create an accurate 3D printed model for implants.

Currently, UK hospitals request 3D printed models of jaw bones for facial reconstruction and other models to repair deformed bones or reconstruct missing parts of the body.   A 3D printed model is often used in neurology and orthopedics and doctors use them to cut down hospital costs as well as surgery time.

The Replica 3DM uses two state-of-the-art 3D printers to print out models using polymer acrylic for hard body structures like bones and by using a special soft  rubber to create printed models of soft tissues and organs. The firm also has access to the 3D printers used by Southampton University that prints using metals like titanium which is necessary in surgical implants.

3d Printed Model
3d Printed Models

To aid in printing accurate and precise models of organs and body parts, the company uses an in-house software that they have developed in order to create realistic models. Creating a realistic 3D printed model can be very difficult especially with the absence of a proper software.

The use of 3D models in the field of medicine is not a new development in the hospital setting. However, this is the first time that many hospitals in the UK have opted for this technology to help make their operation more efficient and less costly.

The Makers Movement Encourages The DIY Revolution

The makers movement is considered as the new industrial revolution as it combines traditional way of making things and modern technology.  In fact, with the many people joining the maker movement education, it has also encouraged a new DIY revolution.

Today, a new breed of DIY enthusiasts are born such that hobbyists, hackers and builders do not only do the things that they love but also share their knowledge and resources to other people who are also willing to join the DIY revolution.

In the United States, many makerspaces have cropped up to cater to DIY enthusiasts who do not have access to tools to complete their project. These venues are also necessary for those who follow the maker movement  to meet with other people who also share their passion and views.

The maker movement does not only appeal to students but also to adults as well as entrepreneurs who want to develop their products but have little capital to start with. The reason for this is that the maker movement education encourages the enthusiasts to share their knowledge and help other people realize their goals.

Makers Movement Manifesto
Makers Movement

It is very interesting to take note that the makers movement is very natural among many people. According to Matthew Crawford, the author of “Shop Class as Soulcraft”,  the maker movement taps into the basic fact of humanity.  It is human nature to tinker and manipulate things. From infancy, we learn about our environment by manipulating it. By poking it, we  try to see if it will poke us back. It is our curiosity  to learn things that makes the maker movement education possible.

The makers movement has a very long way to go but its future looks very promising. Right now, the revolution is taking place in American soil but it will not be long when this movement will also become popular in other countries all over the world.

Shared Space Platform: The Next Big Thing In Makers Movement

Each person is innately built with an urging to develop things and this is what the makers movement is capitalizing on. And the next big thing about materializing each and everyone’s craving for designing and making products that are outputs of their imagination is an all-in one shared space platform.

makers movement

So why invest in such built-in-one designer space? Well advocates of maker movement education promote such type of working environment for a number of reasons but topping it all is the diversified workforce that can help realize each and everyone’s dream. Your own prototype of any personal invention will no longer remain a fraction of your imagination. All the hindrances and your hesitations before will now be addressed as you can have the set of skills you need by having all those who can help you by teaching you to acquire the skills can well be within your easy reach. That’s right.

With this shared space platform, you can have the people you need all in one such that you can produce the product that you want. No need to jump from one outsourcing company to the next as you can have all just in a single space. You can place in entrepreneurs, marketing people, hired hands and even runners all mixed up and coexisting in one space. This is thereby one of the most essential feature of shared space platform and the makers movement.

The shared space platform always abides by the maker movement manifesto in which all will be able to produce their products by learning how to actually produce it. If you do not have the skill for instance to weld then include someone in your in-house guys who can teach you how to do welding. In effect you actually can slash off the cost you need in order to acquire the skill. This is true since you can have the welder in house as the teacher while at the same time hire him to do massive welding for you.

With shared space platform and the makers movement, individuals who are still starting to make a name or those who desire to have their prototypes known may now have greater chances of becoming big. With less time and equal efforts, the dreams will no longer exist in one’s imagination.

Self-Assembling Robots In Space: The Likely Efficient Means For Space Search And Rescue

Robots in space
Self-Assembling Robot

There have been a number of robots used in space and several innovations had been made but nothing could have been way better than the production of those that can assembly by themselves. That’s right! These recent prototypes of space exploration robots appear like flat surface but with programmed sequences may assemble their own limbs and make movement and exploration in space possible. The science behind this batch of robots is grounded on the art of paper folding or the Japanese origami.

Unlike other robots in space, this self-assembling robot requires no human assistance and thus could make explorations in difficult areas pretty easy and safe. Inspections of damages site, collapsed structures in space is made far safer and more convenient as the new prototype of robots can crawl its way towards the deeper creases of these tight-spaced venues.

Robots in space with “folding mechanism” are made possible by embedding electrical filaments powered by battery. In this case, the typical hinge and bolt assembly which may hinder the robots from maneuvering areas that are often difficult to reach is no longer evident. Once the space exploration robot can transform into a flat surface when exposed to heat, other far more beneficial accessories like sensors, actuators, and other electronic devices can now be easily integrated into the flat robot. The entire machine is then programmed such that the machine can explore areas formerly difficult to discover.

This robots used in space prototype is also promising not only in terms of how it will provide more information from space but also due to its cost-efficient manufacturing. Compared to conventional assembly of space robots, flat and self-assembly robots appear cheaper since it will not utilize complex and more expensive machines. Self-assembly robots in space can be formed by putting together pieces of composite layers and can be connected by using etch tanks and laser cutters.

Makers Movement Impact On Public Health

Maker Movement Kids

For some time now, there has been a clamor about groups with their several programs that encourage different people from all various ages to create anything that could contribute to a better world. Makers movement are becoming diverse these days as their aims have been penetrating schools in hopes that the young ones will be able to materialize what they actually have in mind. Maker movement kids for instance have been generating brilliant outputs of various products that are utilized by schools while plainly providing a venue for their talented students.

But aside from providing a setting where anyone could put materialization into plans and blueprints of their products, the maker movement manifesto  goes beyond this for the products that are actually produced one way or the other has been quiet useful in so many ways. One great venue where the makers movement can be applied and potentially would have great impact is on public health. This is of significant concern given the emerging diseases that pose so much threat on the human population.

Advocates of organizations that allow one to create things, the makers movement, may venture on this field and embark on innovations that could help safeguard the public against potential or existing pathogens.  Several projects that may be quite useful in preserving and improving public health may include items that would move individuals around (so as to prevent cardiovascular diseases and related ailments to pop up); stuff that will help humans move around far more safely in a vastly populated and highly polluted environment; working on inventions that help retard the growth of antibiotic resistant microbes; items that are also helpful in safeguarding humans from disease outbreak, and so much more.

With such convergence of makers and those who are focused solely in public health-related issues, there is no way that man will not be triumphant against disease-causing organisms.

Gripping News: Robots In Space Moving Around Boulders

robots used in space
robots in space

Innovations in robots in space has been increasing for some time now as more and more explorations and outputs of which have shed light on what improvements needs to be done. Each difficulty encountered by previous robots used in space, has liittle by little been addressed. One of this is the issue on moving around areas in space that are too rocky or whenever there is a need to hold samples of boulders that are too heavy or big for human space explorers to get hold off.

Such concern has been addressed by space exploration robots built with robotic gripper. The gripper utilizes microspines which paves the movement and adherence of the robots on surfaces that are too rough to which common robots may not be be able to move around. The mechanism works best in venues where microgravity is evident and so this feature is expected to work best in outer space.

What’s very promising about this feature of robotic gripper is that it may enable transport of rock or boulder samples that were difficult to carry in previous space explorations. Robotic exploration may also be enhanced with the possibility of using much improved robots with robotic gripper to grab and hold samples of lava tubes that were observed in Mars and the Moon. The transport of these significant geological samples may shed light on the issue of whether or not other planets could be potential habitats for humanity and other living organisms.

The robots enhanced with robotic gripper has been tested in a lab-simulated micro-gravity environment and has been allowed to move around low-mass surface platforms as well as rugged terrains. Results have been promising and scientist are banking on a positive result too once these robots will be allowed to work their way in space.

 

 

The Makers Movement Has Already Encroached The African Continent

There is another type of revolution happening today and it is occurring right in the midst of the homes of many creative people. The makers movement is considered as a homemade revolution that is participated by  people from all walks of life. This movement is basically challenging the conventional methods of manufacturing and it has attracted young people as well as professionals all over the world who are interested in a new kind of DIY movement.

There are many reasons why the maker movement is becoming popular and  one of the reasons is that that people now have access to cheap components  as well as  different crowdsourcing models where individuals can share their ideas easily. With the popularity of the maker movement education, kids as young as 15 years old are now using their garage to create  and combine different disciplines like embroidery and robotics.

The popularity of the makers movement has also led to the organization of the Maker Faire which has grown to more than 60 events all over the world. In fact, major key cities like UK, Mumbai, Tokyo and Singapore have their own Maker Faire to entice other enthusiasts to meet other people as well as encourage those who are curious to join the movement.

Afrimakers Kenya

It is also interesting to take note that aside from major cities, the maker movement education has also made its way in the African continent. Dubbed as the “Afrimakers”,  the maker movement in Africa is a brainchild of ex-Google engineer Stefania Druga who wants to inspire young Africans through digital fabrication, social entrepreneurship and regional collaboration.

Currently, the maker movement in Africa is rampant in countries like Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt. Druga believes that inspiring young African minds to partake in the maker movement can empower communities. Young people are empowered to make their own decisions as well as grab the future in their own hands. It changes the mindset of people which, in turn, can also lead to ideological revolution in the continent.

However, unlike the maker movement education in other continents, the Afrimakers are more focused towards creating technologies that will help them provide their daily needs. According to Druga, everything that Afrimakers do need to be connected to making practical solutions not only for themselves and their families but also for their community.

The makers movement in Africa looks very promising and as more young people embark on this movement, there is a possibility that this movement will be the next big thing in Africa.

Mars 2020 Rover To Use Space Exploration Robots To Carry Tools To Make Oxygen In Mars

In this day and age, everything seems possible including space exploration and robots. In fact, different organizations aside from NASA are aggressive enough when it comes to developing technologies that will make life in outer space more comfortable. This is the reason why space explorations robots are becoming popular technologies today.

Mars 2020
Space Exploration Robots

One of the most intriguing robotic space technologies being developed for space exploration is the Mars Oxygen ISRU (in situ research utilization) which is designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This particular robot is bound for Mars in 2020  and it comes with a device that will convert Oxygen from Carbon dioxide. The robot also comes with a sensor to see if the air in the Red Planet can be converted to Oxygen so that the astronauts can easily breathe in the future.

The Mars Oxygen ISRU is one of the space exploration robots launched by NASA to explore the environment in Mars. According to William Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator for  the Human Exploration Mission in NASA, the robotic space technology plays a big role in  testing the environment  before astronauts set foot on the red planet.

Aside from converting Carbon dioxide to Oxygen, the robot also aims to identify and collect soil and rock samples as well as conduct geological assessments to determine the best landing site for the Mars 2020 rover. It also comes with a sensor to search for signs of life in Mars.

The robots used in the Mars 2020 rover is still being developed and the designers are still deciding to include advance cameras as well as spectrometers to test and detect organic compounds, chemical composition of the atmosphere and also the minerals found on the surface of the planet. It will also carry other sensors that will measure the temperature, wind speed, pressure, direction and relative humidity.

The robot will be communicating daily to Earth thus the data will be sent out regularly to be analyzed. This particular robotic space technology is very ambitious and NASA reported to value the development of this technology at $130 million. Although expensive, it will definitely shed light to  the age old mystery on what life on Mars is like. Space exploration robots are really promising because they provide data that will help astronauts and scientists alike to understand the conditions of the planet. The data that will be obtained by the Mars 2020 rover will be used as baseline study on how to improve the environment of Mars for future space exploration.

First 3D Printed Models Of Lightweight Planes Created

3D airplane
3D Printed Model Plane

3D printed models are not only limited to prototype scale models. In fact, aeronautical engineers from the United Kingdom have created the first uncrewed 3D aircraft in their hopes to revolutionize the economics of the design of lightweight planes.

The team of engineers is led by Jim Scanlan and Andy Keane both from the University of Southamptom and they believe that cheap 3D printing has the capacity to create aircraft drones that can be used for different purposes such as surveillance, infrared photography and crop spraying.

Creating 3D printed models have come a long way and from being made by expensive prototyping printers, many people now have access to cheap 3D printing. The best thing about creating lightweight airplanes using cheap 3D printing is that manufacturers no longer need to spend too much money on creating airplanes with poor design. With 3D printing,  aeronautical engineers can go back to pure forms and simply explore the math behind the airflow without  the need to spend too much money on the production line.

The first 3D airplane that Keane’s team created has a1.5-meter wingspan and it was designed to have low drag UAV to make it airborne easily. The material used to create this 3D printed airplane was hard nylon. They also designed printable hinges for the moving parts of the airplane. Basically, everything in the airplane was made using 3D printing technology.

To make the plane more interesting, the team of engineers only operated within the £5,000 budget. Although the budget constraint also resulted to several design limitations such as the absence of undercarriage to keep the weight down, it still went airborne perfectly. Other design limitations of the airplane include the use of electric motor and the use of a V-shaped tail.

Although there are many design limitations of the plane, the engineers designed it to have a strong geodesic frame thus contributing to the low drag design of the airplane. To make it more interesting, it only took a matter of days for the engineers to create the airplane which is a feat that hasn’t been achieved using conventional methods of creating aircrafts.

3D printed models are indeed no longer limited towards scale models of architectural designs. They are now also used to create interesting yet practical items such as drones and medical devices. Interestingly enough, the availability of cheap 3D printing technology will make it possible for people to  create all sorts of things in the future.