When neither the original parts nor the original cast were available to repair the U.S. Air Force’s AN/TRC-194 antenna, experts from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) stepped in with their 3D printing technology.
As the tentacles of technology reach further and deeper into mainstream uses, their influence on the job market, man-machine interactions, government agencies and the military will grow exponentially. Capabilities once thought of as fodder for science fiction have become science fact at such unpredictable speeds organizations will need to understand the implications quickly if they hope to take advantage of the benefits they offer and not fall behind the curve.
By using laser-generated, hologram-like 3D images flashed into photosensitive resin, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), along with collaborators at UC Berkeley, the University of Rochester and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have discovered they can build complex 3-D parts in a fraction of the time of traditional layer-by-layer printing, according to an LLNL press release.
The novel approach is called “volumetric” 3-D printing, and is described in the journal Science Advances, published online on December 8.
The National Science Foundation is funding a remarkable array of biomedical technology solutions to help patients from mere hours after birth to days before death. Innovations include a protein-based implant for restoring vision, a method for 3-D printing with human tissue and a man-made material that mimics bone.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) engineers have achieved unprecedented scalability in 3-D printed architectures of arbitrary geometry, opening the door to super-strong, ultra-lightweight and flexible metallic materials for aerospace, the military and the automotive industry, according to a published announcement.
The common battery may not keep going and going and going after all. A recent scientific advance—the first successfully 3-D printed supercapacitors using an ultralightweight graphene aerogel—could lead to the end of the ubiquitous power source. The breakthrough also could allow greater flexibility in the design of electronics and provide the juice for high-powered military systems.
Under an 18-month Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories will use state-of-the-art software for generative design from San Rafael-based Autodesk Inc. as it studies how new material microstructures, arranged in complex configurations and printed with additive manufacturing techniques, will produce objects with physical properties that were never before possible. LLNL researchers will bring to bear several key technologies, such as additive manufacturing, material modeling and architected design (arranging materials at the micro and nanoscale through computational design).
A group of architects at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia have created a solar-powered, eco-friendly, robotic, 3D printer capable of building bridges and other structures from soil and a liquid binder. Known as the Stone Spray Project, the endeavor pushes the boundaries of digitial manufacturing and on-site fabrication machines.
If it’s said good things come in small packages, imagine the edible delights that might come from a 3-D printer.
One day, it might not be left to the imagination as scientists from the U.S. Army’s Natick Research Center are studying just that—printed food. (We wonder if the heated toner smell will be optional.)
The Army has not begun printing food; in fact, it does not yet have a printer. But it has the idea and the funding for next year to research the potential capabilities of 3-D food printers.