Imagine that every time you needed a prescription, you wandered on over to the pharmacy and a pharmacist printed you up your drugs on the spot. On-demand micro manufacturing would allow pharmacists to customise for dosage, for your own personal biology, or even to combine many pills into one dose. It's a vision for the future of pharmaceuticals that a growing number of scientists hope will make drugs cheaper, personalised and more accessible to far-flung places.
Tagged With 3d printing
OK, let's not get ahead of ourselves. McLaren won't be deploying an interplanetary squad of space marines to slay brain-guzzling bugs anytime soon. It does, however, have an interest in protecting its valued clients and when one of them asked the company to make some custom armour to protect their body post-surgery, it turns out McLaren was not only happy to entertain the idea, but actually do it.
Video: They have been used by large companies for rapidly creating prototypes for at least a few decades, but finding a reason to put a 3D printer in every home hasn't been as successful. Making accessories for your vacuum? Boring. Building soft drink bottle bridges? Meh. Super-sizing LEGO? Hello holy grail of 3D printing.
Video: Wave a high-powered laser around fast enough, and the human eye will perceive an image in the light trail left behind. That's how laser projectors that cost thousands of dollars work, but it's also how this cheap, 3D-printed plastic contraption turns a simple laser pointer into a full-on light show.
The potential for 3D printing to revolutionise manufacturing is astounding -- if the technology can overcome a few limitations. Researchers at MIT's Self-Assembly Lab have come up with a novel way to both speed up the 3D printing process, and free it from the restrictions imposed by gravity.
Reduce, re-use and recycle are words to live by as we try to minimise humanity's demand for our planet's natural resources. But instead of sending your empty soft drink bottles off to be recycled, scientists from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany want you to build everything from chairs, to boats, to outdoor shelters with them.
One of the many challenges of colonising Mars is that the planet is lacking many of the natural resources we rely on here on Earth. We'll need to bring as much of what we need to survive as possible, but you can only pack so much into a spaceship. So scientists are developing ways to utilise at least one of the red planet's most abundant resources: Dust.