Motorola Mobility, a Google company, is building a 3D printed modular phone, and has partnered with 3D Systems for commercial fulfillment. More »
The Captured Dimensions pop-up studio was located in the Smithsonian Castle and featured approximately 80 digital cameras all connected to 3D software. More »
Microsoft expanded their support for 3D printing by launching a Windows 8 app called 3D Builder. It includes a library of objects you can edit and 3D print. More »
3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced the availability of the Sense 3D scanner, the first 3D scanner designed for the consumer and optimized for 3D printing. More »
This is a guest post by Abdul Rehman, whose bio is at the end of the article.
Throughout history, the simplest, most mundane things have inspired great scientific breakthroughs.
Isaac Newton saw an apple falling to the ground and put forward his theory of gravity. Albert Einstein imagined a man falling off a building and formed his theory of relativity.
Perhaps the latest bioprinting technique called “Block Cell Printing” falls into the same category as it is inspired by centuries’ old Chinese woodblock printing.
Developed by researchers in Houston, “block-cell printing” or “BloC printing” is a technique for making single layered patterns of living cells. It uses microfluidic physics to guide living cells into small hook-like traps. Cells flow down columns in a mold and assume definite positions according to predefined criteria. When the mold is lifted, the cells remain behind on a substrate retaining the same predefined pattern.
This technique is quite similar to the Chinese woodblock printing technique through which they printed text, images or patterns using wooden blocks and ink. Lidong Qin, the head of the research team, says: “It’s essentially the same as the ancient woodblock printing.”
So, in block cell printing, the mold is the wooden block, the cells form the ink and the substrate is the paper.
Comparison with Contemporary Techniques
Presently, bioprinting companies like Organovo, use a technique called inkjet printing. When compared to it, block cell printing:
- Keeps More Cells Alive: One problem with the inkjet technique is that many cells (20-50%) die during the process. In contrast, in block cell printing, almost all the cells survive. Qin says: “A survival rate of 50 to 80 percent is typical as cells exit the inkjet nozzles. By comparison, we are seeing close to 100 percent of cells in BloC-Printing survive the printing process.”
- Is More Economical: Another big advantage that block cell printing enjoys over the traditional techniques is that it is far more affordable. Each BloC mold costs around $1 to produce. In comparison, an inkjet printer costs anywhere from $10,000 to $200,000. So, research companies can cut down their costs by utilizing block cell printing.
- Is Unable to Produce Three-Dimensional Structures Yet: Although it is revolutionary in many aspects, till now, block cell printing hasn’t been able to produce three-dimensional structures like tissues and organs. This is what the researchers are focusing on next.
Possible Uses of BloC Printing
Qin says that this technique is especially useful for two purposes:
Cancer Diagnosis and Research
The first is cancer diagnosis and research. By studying the behavior and characteristics of cells of cancer patients in the mold, such as how they move in the columns of the mold, BloC printing can be used to diagnose the stage of the cancer. This can then be used for treatment and research purposes.
Another thing for which block cell printing is especially useful is neuron research. This technique can print neurons as close as 5 micrometers. So, it can be used to study their interactions with one another. Qin states: “Such work could be helpful in understanding Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.”
Old Technique, New Technology
3D bioprinting has recently become popular as it has the capability to revolutionize the drug and organ industries. It provides a ray of hope for many patients with terminal diseases. However, many concerns have been raised because of its high cost and complexity. Block cell printing has changed that concept and proven that bioprinting can be achieved economically and simply. Once it is able to form 3D tissues, perhaps this millennia-old technique will become the latest and greatest technology!
About the author: Abdul Rehman is a medical student with a keen interest in all things technology. Computers, graphic cards, mobiles, tablets, 3d printing and tissue engineering are just a few of the things he’s been following for years. A regular author at 3dprinthq.com for a year, he’s written on dozens of 3D printing topics from aviation to fashion.
3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) has continued its acquisition path with the purchase of Digital PlaySpace (DPS), a proprietary, innovative and immersive digital play platform that connects brands, retailers and consumers to 3D printable play activities.
Through its two leading digital play properties, DigitalDollhouse.com and Dreamhouse Designer Facebook app, the DPS platform combines home design, gaming, and community sharing to deliver a vivid 3D create-and-make experience for children and their parents. Compelling content creation, capture and customization features make it quick, easy and fun to personalize and 3D print incredible creations at home on a Cube® 3D printer, or have them cloud printed using 3DS’ fulfillment service, available on its consumer destination site Cubify™.
Jesyca Durchin, DPS founder and CEO said, “We are thrilled to integrate our virtual and actual play experiences directly into the 3DS Cubify platform. Our vision is to deliver a ‘3D PlaySpace’ for everyone. The immersiveness and fun of our PlaySpace experience enhances brand recall and loyalty, enabling brands and retailers to connect with consumers in a whole new way. We designed Digital PlaySpace from the bottom-up for publishing flexibility and scalability, and 3DS is the perfect home for our growth.”
“We are excited to have Jesyca and her entire Digital PlaySpace team join our Cubify platform, enabling millions of new users to connect with family, friends and favorite brands in more immersive and socially creative ways,” said Cathy Lewis, Chief Marketing Officer, 3DS. “Digital PlaySpace’s ability to customize and rapidly publish mobile and web 3D printable content provides a differentiated value proposition for brands and consumers alike.”
Durchin is a leading developer of interactive and filmed entertainment for girls since 1994. She is an award-winning producer of both interactive and 3D animated films for Mattel, and has been a key advisor to Disney Theme Parks regarding brand-sponsored exhibitions targeting women. As a producer, Jesyca has created and produced games, films and rides for leading brands such as Mattel Entertainment, Buena Vista Games, Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Home Video, and Mattel Interactive.
Learn more about the 3D printed lifestyle at 3DS’ consumer destination Cubify.
Artec Group is launching Shapify.Pro – a new version of its 3D-selfie technology designed for Microsoft Kinect owners – and a way to monetize 3D prints. Shapify.Pro will debut at the 3D Printshow in New York, February 13-15.
The figurines are exact replicas of what is scanned by Kinect, 3D printed in monochrome or color plastic at 1/20th actual height.
All you need to become an official “3D-Shapifizer”, is a Shapify.Pro kit: an account at http://shapify.me, a Shapify branded backpack and scanning pad, and a discount for 3D printing of your figurines at Shapify partner printshops.
With Shapify.Pro, Artec is giving users a chance to make money with 3D scanning and printing. ”Just follow the voice instructions to quickly scan your customer with a Kinect sensor and order the 3D figurine at a Shapify printshop at a special low price,” explains Artec. “The figurine will be delivered to your home in several days. Sell your 3D scanning and printing service wherever you want: at parties and sports events, forums and conferences, corporate events… your only limit is your imagination.”
You need the following to scan customers using Shapify.Pro:
- Microsoft Kinect for Windows
- Windows 7 (x64) or Windows 8
- Intel Core I3 or later with at least 4 GB RAM
- Audio Speakers and USB 2.0
- Internet connection
The Shapify.Pro kit costs $999, and Artec is offering $999 of credit on your Shapify.Pro account for printing your orders when you buy the kit.
Shapify.Pro kits will be for sale at the Shapify.Pro booth A28 at the 3D Printshow in New York and on the official website www.shapify.me starting February 13.
Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo is headed back to New York! Attendees will experience the biggest show yet, with a day of workshops on April 2, the new Maker Summit & Pavilion, more speakers, and bigger exhibitions than ever before.
Several exciting new elements have also been added to the New York conference, including a 3D printer giveaway before each morning and afternoon keynote session on April 3 and 4. In addition to the show’s B2B programming and exhibits, the Maker Summit & Pavilion will give attendees the chance to delve into the world of 3D printing DIY and design.
Inside 3D Printing, known as the largest 3D printing event worldwide, has already scheduled industry experts to speak at the New York event, including Jesse McGatha, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, Christine Furstoss, Global Technology Director of Manufacturing & Materials Technologies at GE, and Carl Bass, President and CEO of Autodesk. View the full agenda here.
Additional dates for the conference are scheduled both in the US and internationally, including an event in Berlin on March 10-11 and one in Sao Paulo on April 16-17. Click here for the full world tour schedule.
We’ve partnered with Inside 3D Printing NY to offer 10% OFF full conference passes with code ON3DP. Plus, if you register before February 18, you’ll save an extra $600 with early bird prices. Register your spot now!
3D Printing Week
Here’s the top 3D printing news from last week.
3D printing filament is costly, so how will we get schools to start using 3D printers? Zeni Kinetic, a US-based filament manufacturer, launched a pilot grant program to provide free and low-cost American-made 3D printing filament for schools.
You can now invest your IRA in a 3D printing mutual fund! Outlook Funds Trust announced the launch of the 3D Printing and Technology Fund, the Trusts inaugural fund and the first-ever mutual fund covering 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing. The Fund is managed by 3D Printing Fund Advisers, LLC, with Alan M. Meckler serving as Senior Portfolio Manager and John M. Meckler as Co-Manager and Chief Compliance Officer.
Looking to hire folks in 3D printing or additive manufacturing? Gravity Recruitment Ltd is a new special purpose UK-based recruitment firm, focused specifically on the 3D printing industry.