Students may soon be able to reach out and touch some of the theoretical concepts they are taught in their physics classes thanks to a novel idea devised by a group of researchers from Imperial College London. The researchers have successfully demonstrated how complex theoretical physics can be transformed into a physical object using a 3D printer.
Until now, 3D printing has been a polymer affair, with most people in the maker community using the machines to make all manner of plastic consumer goods, from tent stakes to chess sets. A new low-cost 3D printer developed by Joshua Pearce and his team could add hammers to that list.
Researchers at the Illinois Makerlab have begun to experiment with a wood-based polymer. This new material is fed through 3D printers just like plastic but produces objects that look like they were carved from wood.
Biomedical engineering researchers have discovered that a naturally-occurring compound can be incorporated into three-dimensional printing processes to create medical implants out of non-toxic polymers. The compound is riboflavin, which is better known as vitamin B2.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have successfully added a fourth dimension to their printing technology, opening up exciting possibilities for the creation and use of adaptive, composite materials in manufacturing, packaging and biomedical applications.