MIT researchers successful in printing ‘flexible’ 3D objects
With the tools of 3D printing we have achieved a great many credible products ranging from earphones, robots to even sail boards. However, the scope of the nascent technology is still limited by the singularity of the materials used for printing the three dimensional objects. In other words, most of the commercial 3D printers have single-material credentials that only allows them to crank out hard objects like bowls, toys or the aforementioned items from plastic. But they are still limited in application when it comes to ‘soft’ products with complex and varied surfaces. Well, some researches from MIT look forth to change all of that by printing objects with multiple materials. And as an adorable yet technologically advanced example, they have showcased miniature 3D teddy bears which are intrinsically flexible and do replicate foam.
The crucial force behind MIT’s project is a brand new programming language that is favorable to printing objects with multiple materials. According to the researchers, this innovative language coupled with a streamlined process allows ‘evolved’ objects to be printed that can be flexible at some points, while being firm at others. Furthermore, the objects would also have the ‘finer’ abilities like reflecting light and conforming to physical touches.
Of course, the $300,000 3D printers used by MIT researchers are much more advanced than the typical $2,000 machines most DIYers are accustomed to. However, with more serious development in this field, the researchers are looking forward to 3D printed objects that are practical across a wide spectrum of applications, ranging from Hollywood movie costumes to heath care.