Advancements and Challenges: Seven Key Technological Frontiers Explored

Protein Engineering and 3D Printing

Over two decades ago, a groundbreaking achievement led by David Baker at the University of Washington marked the inception of de novo protein design. While ‘Top7,’ an early creation, initially lacked biological functionality, today, the field has evolved into a powerful tool for tailor-made enzymes and proteins. Neil King, collaborating with Baker’s team, emphasizes the transformative nature of this progress, citing the ability to accomplish tasks that were deemed impossible just a year and a half ago. The success owes much to extensive datasets linking protein sequences to structures and the indispensable role of deep learning in unraveling the hidden grammar of protein architecture.

Deep Learning for Protein Design

The utilization of large language models (LLMs), such as those powering ChatGPT, has paved the way for ‘sequence-based’ strategies in protein design. Noelia Ferruz and her team at the Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona developed ProtGPT2, an algorithm consistently producing synthetic proteins with stable folding. Meanwhile, ‘structure-based’ approaches, fueled by diffusion models akin to those in image-generating tools like DALL-E, demonstrated notable progress in bespoke protein-design algorithms in 2023. RFdiffusion software and the Chroma tool exemplify the power of these approaches in engineering novel proteins.

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Revolutionizing Biomedical 3D Printing: Duke University and Harvard Researchers Introduce Deep-Penetrating Acoustic Volumetric Printing

A groundbreaking advancement in 3D printing within the human body has been achieved by a collaborative team of researchers from Duke University and Harvard Medical School. Their innovative approach involves utilizing ultrasound waves to solidify an injectable biocompatible ink, as detailed in a recent paper published in the journal Science.

Building upon a previously developed photo-sensitive ink that hardens when exposed to light, the researchers sought to overcome the limitation of light penetration, which extends only a few millimeters into the patient’s tissue. The new technique, termed “deep-penetrating acoustic volumetric printing” (DVAP), leverages the sono-thermal effect, where soundwaves are absorbed, increasing the temperature and subsequently solidifying the ink.

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Revolutionizing Art Reproduction: Lito Masters Brings Masterpieces to Life with 3D Printing

In a groundbreaking development, the application of advanced laser scanning technology has reshaped the way museums engage in the research and conservation of paintings, meticulously mapping their textures, colors, and dimensions. Now, an Austrian printmaking company, Lito Masters, is harnessing this technology to provide art enthusiasts with a unique opportunity to “live with a masterpiece.”

Established in 2022, Lito Masters has collaborated with major museums, conducting detailed scans of iconic paintings by artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Wassily Kandinsky. Utilizing 3D-printing technology, the company produces textured, stroke-for-stroke reproductions on canvas or paper, faithfully replicating the originals’ cracks, ridges, and imperfections.

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Phoenix Project: Holcim’s Innovative 3D-Printed Bridge Redefining Sustainability

Holcim, in collaboration with the Block Research Group at ETH Zurich, Zaha Hadid Architects Computation and Design Group, and Incremental3D, introduces the groundbreaking Phoenix project. An evolution of the previously unveiled Striatus bridge, Phoenix stands as a testament to sustainable engineering and 3D printing technology.

Cutting-Edge Construction

Phoenix boasts a maximum height of 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) and a longest span of 17 meters (55 feet). The bridge’s innovative construction process involves the use of a 3D printer to create building blocks. The printer extrudes a cement-based mixture layer by layer, meticulously following a computer-generated plan. Notably, the cement mixture incorporates 10 tons of recycled materials, including elements from the original Striatus bridge, aligning with the project’s commitment to sustainability.

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Elegoo Unleashes Kaiju-Sized 3D Printing Power with OrangeStorm Giga on Kickstarter

Elegoo, renowned for its reliable 3D printers, has embarked on a Kickstarter venture that pushes the boundaries of printing capabilities with the introduction of the OrangeStorm Giga. This printer, bearing the epic name “Giga,” boasts an expansive build area measuring a staggering 800 by 800 by 1,000mm or 2.6 by 2.6 by 3.2 feet.

Primarily designed for the commercial market, the OrangeStorm Giga presents an alluring proposition for small businesses and hobbyists alike. The colossal build size opens up exciting possibilities, allowing users to print life-sized components such as Iron Man chest pieces or prototypes for various projects. The 1-meter tall build space facilitates the creation of large vases, full-size busts, and artwork for walls.

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3D Printing in Microgravity: Paving the Way for Lunar Manufacturing

For over 20 years, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have heavily relied on Earth-shipped materials for their scientific endeavors and daily necessities, with water being the sole exception, recycled from station wastewater. However, a shift is underway as scientists explore the potential of manufacturing supplies in space, fueled by the burgeoning commercial space industry and global interest in extended missions beyond the ISS.

The latest frontier in this quest involves studying the application of 3D printing in microgravity. Traditionally, 3D printing involves layering chosen materials like molten plastic, glass, or metal, a process heavily influenced by gravity. The investigation aims to unravel how 3D printing behaves in space, envisioning a future where astronauts can fabricate resources on-demand, ranging from space station components to nanosatellites, and even full-scale satellites using materials sourced from asteroids. This advancement could potentially lead to the 3D printing of habitats on the moon and other planets, thereby reducing the reliance on cargo resupply missions.

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Guatemala Unveils Earthquake-Resistant 3D-Printed House Constructed in 26 Hours

A groundbreaking achievement in construction has taken place in Guatemala as a team harnessed 3D printing technology to erect an earthquake-resistant house in a mere 26 hours. While 3D-printed houses are not entirely novel, this project represents a significant leap in designing structures capable of withstanding seismic forces.

The project entailed creating organic-shaped walls using 3D printing technology, combined with traditional construction methods typical of the region, including a roof crafted from palm leaves. The 49 square-meter dwelling was brought to life through a collaboration between COBOD International, a renowned 3D printer supplier, and the Danish architecture firm 3DCP Group, which oversaw the printing process in partnership with Progreso, a cement company. The house, characterized by 3-meter-high walls, was assembled within 26 printing hours spanning seven days.

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Revolutionary 3D-Printed Toilet Surface May Revolutionize Hygiene and Water Conservation

The flush toilet, a groundbreaking invention from the late 16th century, only gained widespread use in the 1850s. Since then, this everyday marvel has saved countless lives by preventing diseases such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. Despite its crucial role in public health, we often take toilets for granted, except for the unpleasant task of cleaning them. However, a recent breakthrough in toilet design may change our perception of this essential fixture.

Chinese researchers have developed a 3D-printed toilet surface with exceptional slipperiness, preventing virtually anything from adhering to it, even after heavy use. While this innovation has the potential to drastically reduce water consumption in flushing, its most notable contribution may be rendering traditional toilet brushes obsolete.

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Industries Revolutionizing with 3D Printing Technology

Introduction: The potential of 3D printing spans across various industries, but some sectors have embraced its possibilities more rapidly than others. In this article, we explore five industries at the forefront of 3D printing innovation, driving transformation in their operations. These sectors are actively exploring the potential of 3D printing and leading the way towards a promising future where this technology becomes an integral part of their practices.

Food: The concept of 3D printed food may seem like science fiction, but it is already a reality. From pizzas to chocolates and even lab-grown meat substitutes, 3D printing is revolutionizing the way we think about food production. This technology enables customized nutrient profiles in printed food, benefiting medical patients and the elderly while potentially eliminating intensive animal farming.

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Printed Farms Achieves New Milestone with World’s Largest 3D-Printed Luxury Horse Barn

Printed Farms, in collaboration with COBOD’s BOD2 construction 3D printer, has accomplished an extraordinary feat by successfully completing the construction of the world’s largest 3D-printed building—a luxurious horse barn. This remarkable equestrian facility, located in Wellington, Southern Florida, showcases the versatility and resilience of 3D printing technology, withstanding extreme weather conditions while providing natural cooling through its innovative 3D-printed walls. The project further solidifies COBOD’s position as a leading provider of 3D printers, holding significant records in the industry.

A Remarkable Structure: The 3D-printed luxury horse barn boasts impressive dimensions, with a total floor area of 10,105 sq. ft/939m2, a height of 13ft/4m, a length of 155ft/47m, and a width of 83ft/25m. Printed Farms utilized COBOD’s state-of-the-art BOD2 construction 3D printer, known for its exceptional capabilities and track record in the industry. The horse barn stands as a testament to the unlimited possibilities of 3D printing technology in the realm of construction.

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Sweat Tells All: The Innovative 3D-Printed Wearable Sensor Revealing Vital Health Information

The secretion of sweat during exercise is not just an indicator of a good workout, but it also provides valuable information about our overall health. This includes revealing clues about dehydration, fatigue, blood sugar levels, as well as serious conditions like diabetes, heart failure, and cystic fibrosis. To enhance the potential of wearable sweat sensors, researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Engineering have developed a 3D-printed sweat sensor called the “sweatainer.”

The sweatainer is a compact and portable device that collects and analyzes sweat, offering new possibilities for health monitoring. By incorporating various sensors, the sweatainer can analyze sweat in a way similar to other wearable sweat-sensing systems. The 3D-printing technology allows for the creation of intricate designs, providing an innovative and cost-effective way to prototype advanced wearable sweat devices.

Compared to traditional methods of sweat collection that require absorbent pads or microbore tubes, the sweatainer’s “multi-draw” sweat collection method is more efficient and offers the ability to collect multiple, separate sweat samples for analysis either directly on the device or sent to a lab. This advancement not only simplifies sweat collection but also offers new opportunities for at-home testing, sample storage, and integration with existing health monitoring methods.

Real-world studies of the sweatainer system demonstrate the significant potential of this groundbreaking technology. Through the use of 3D-printing, the researchers hope to continue driving innovation to create a future where personal health monitoring is more accessible, convenient, and insightful.

By Impact Lab

From the Lab to Your Plate: 3D Printed Fish Fillets are the New Catch of the Day

The cultured meat industry has been growing rapidly, with major production facilities under construction and the approval process for finished products inching forward. However, most of the focus has been on ground beef, chicken, pork, and steak, while fish have been largely left out of the fray. But that may be changing. Last month, Steakholder Foods, an Israeli company, announced that it had 3D-printed a ready-to-cook fish fillet using cells grown in a bioreactor.

According to the company, this fish fillet is the first of its kind in the world, and they are aiming to commercialize the 3D bioprinter used to create it. While the industry has been successful in creating lab-grown chicken and beef, fish have presented a unique set of challenges. However, the 3D printing process has allowed Steakholder Foods to create a fillet with a flaky texture, just like real fish when cooked well.

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