A few months ago we saw the invention of the world’s first 3D printing pen, the 3Doodler, that allows people to draw small objects seemingly out of thin air. Now, a large team of researchers including Petr Novikov, Saša Jokić from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and Joris Laarman Studio, have decided to up the ante. The result of the team’s research is Mataerial, a large robotic tool that can draw three dimensional objects that sprout vertically from the ground or horizontally from a wall, seemingly without regard to the effects of gravity. Where traditional 3D printers print layer after layer of 2D material to build more complex shapes, Mataerial relies on a chemical reaction between two components of a thermosetting polymer to solidify almost instantly as it extrudes from a nozzle. Perhaps the Mataerial team says it better:
One of the key innovations of anti-gravity object modelling is the use of thermosetting polymers instead of thermoplastics that are used in existing 3D printers. The material is cured because of a chemical reaction between two source components with such proportion of extrusion and movement speeds that it comes solid out of the nozzle; this feature makes it possible to print hanging curves without support material.
The device can even alter the color of the material being used to create gradients or other shifts in hue in real time. The team also proposed the creation of much larger structures such as a pavillion that could be constructed on-site with the assistance of multiple Mataerial devices.
I for one welcome our new gravity defying, 3D-printing overlords and can’t wait to see where things go next. You can read much more about Mataerial on the team’s website and stay tuned to their Facebook or blog for more developments. (via dezeen)
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The BioniCopter is the latest robotic marvel from German technology firm Festo, a company known for the creation of numerous devices that mimic wildlife including birds, jellyfish and penguins. Meant to mimic the motions of a dragonfly the BioniCopter is capable of flying in all directions including backward, and can also hover indefinitely in the same spot. Via Festo:
In addition to control of the shared flapping frequency and twisting of the individual wings, each of the four wings also features an amplitude controller. The tilt of the wings determines the direction of thrust. Amplitude control allows the intensity of the thrust to be regulated. When combined, the remote-controlled dragonfly can assume almost any position in space. [… ] This unique way of flying is made possible by the lightweight construction and the integration of functions: components such as sensors, actuators and mechanical components as well as open- and closed-loop control systems are installed in a very tight space and adapted to one another. With the remote-controlled dragonfly, Festo demonstrates wireless real-time communication, a continuous exchange of information, as well as the ability to combine different sensor evaluations and identify complex events and critical states.
While many other remote-controlled dragonflies exist, many of which are available commercially as toys, the BioniCopter is the first device that can mimic the function of a plane, a helicopter, and a glider all in the same device. Learn more at Festo.
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