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8/2/2013
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Jeff Bertolucci
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10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do

Cars, guitars, and tracheal implants: Is there anything that 3-D printers can't make?
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How do you capture the expressive eyes of animated characters in an interactive toy or robot? Animatronic, mechanical eyes are complex and expensive to build, particularly in small toys and stuffed animals. Besides, they can appear creepy and lifeless. Video projection is an alternative, but it's often hard to implement in small characters and on complex faces with eyes that either bulge out or are deeply sunken.

The solution: Disney Research's Papillon technology uses bundles of 3-D-printed optical fibers, which guide images projected onto the surface of the character's eyes. Using transparent photopolymers, the technique prints eyes "slice-by-slice" and enables curved display surfaces with few visual artifacts, such as light distortions on the edges of the eye.

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tcubed
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tcubed,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 5:37:13 PM
re: 10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do
How about having the 3D printer make another 3D printer; and so on, and so on; eventually they will be plentiful and cheap enough for me to be able to afford one :-)
KMBurnham
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KMBurnham,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2013 | 4:54:45 PM
re: 10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do
^^+1. The applications are endless :-)
NnoduaN197
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NnoduaN197,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/6/2013 | 3:07:00 PM
re: 10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do
How can I get a 3D portable handy scanner
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/6/2013 | 6:34:48 PM
re: 10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do
I love this technology, and it's amazing how it's just catching on with the public. Many people are still learning what it can do, and why it may be useful. Meanwhile its use within the medical and dental fields, to say the least, have been mindblowing (look it up). It doesn't hurt that I can print shoes too. A 3D printer is rapidly making its way to the top of my Christmas wish-list.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/6/2013 | 7:03:14 PM
re: 10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do
3D printers are great for prototypes, but I think their utility to the general public is overstated. Until they can print food, it will always be more affordable and easier to one-click purchase plastic baubles from Amazon.com. In any event, many useful items have moving parts and/or were made with multiple materials, making them ill-suited for 3D printing. Single-substance items, like dinner plates, deserve a substance better than plastic (and even plates work better with glaze on the ceramic...so a multi-step manufacturing process). I'm sure however they'll find a home in places like the International Space Station for parts replication.
Server Market Splitsville
Server Market Splitsville
Just because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
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