Please RSVP Now: Is 3D Printing a Relevant Technology for Development?

3d-printing

IREX Tech Deep Dive – RSVP now

Just as the Internet changed the communications world in the 1990’s, 3D printing is set to change the physical world. We are already way beyond trinkets and keychains. Cheap 3D printers can create prosthetic arms, and even living ears and livers, not to mention metal parts worthy of aviation grade uses.

This new technology can revolutionize the way that we make products, by bringing the factory into the community and allowing computers and the Internet to become the new conduit for skills, innovation and creativity in manufacturing.

Or such is the promise of 3D printing in development. However, what is the reality? And how might it be applicable to the development context, where the poor are often the last ones to benefit from new technologies? Amidst the hype, there are serious questions to ponder:

  • What are the 3D printing opportunities in developing economies?
  • Where could 3D Printing be catalytic or transformational in development?
  • Who is using it now? And what lessons are already learned?
  • What funding and support is needed to develop a successful 3D printing program?
  • How do we ensure that 3D printing value chains are inclusive, and communities can own their own 3D destiny?

Please RSVP now to join the next IREX Tech Deep Dive to explore the potential potential and pitfalls of 3D printing in development. To help us navigate where we are headed, we’ll have three thought leaders sharing their knowledge and opinions:

RSVP-Now

Please RSVP now to join this active, practical event. We’ll have an overview of the state of 3D printing and its usage across the development spectrum, a lively brainstorming on what the future of 3D printing might look like, and small teams creating frameworks for how to get us from the present to the future.

We’ll go from talk to action in just one morning!

3D Printing for Development
IREX Tech Deep Dive
8:30 am -12:30pm
Wednesday, November 5th
Washington, DC, 20005

We will have hot coffee and a catered breakfast for a morning rush, but seating is limited RSVP now, before its too late. Note that this event is in-person only, and RSVP is required to attend.


About IREX Tech Deep Dives

IREX Tech Deep Dives are an interactive discussion series on technology for development hosted by the Center for Collaborative Technologies at IREX in partnership with Kurante.

We convene small groups of established experts to have critical and substantive discussions on the application and impact of new and emerging technology solutions and their relevance to international development.

Participants will gain new insights on current technology trends and gain practical insights they can apply immediately, and over the long term. RSVP now to join us!


Go to Source. Reprinted from ICTWorks

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What’s the implication of 3D printers for the World Bank’s mission?

What is the implication of 3D printers on the World Bank’s mission of poverty reduction and boosting of shared prosperity? While figuring out the specifics is likely impossible, we do have a few hints at the possibilities.

3D Printer + Internet = Inclusive Education
The internet search engines we use almost every day have changed our lives, in terms of access to information, knowledge, and much more. But for the visually impaired, this invention has had little impact so far. However, through an innovative application of 3D printers, “search experience” for the visually impaired became possible using a voice-activated, 3D printer-installed, Internet search engine.

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3D printing: Pimp my ride

As three-dimensional (3D) printers, which make objects layer by layer, have fallen in price, their use has expanded beyond industry. A number of artists now also employ the technology. One of them, Ioan Florea—Romanian-born but now based in America—used a 3D printer to customise his classic 1971 Ford Torino for a recent exhibition. Mr Florea prints parts in plastic, coats them with other materials or uses the printed parts as moulds. For his car, he developed a process that produces what he calls a “liquid-metal” finish. Ford, which uses 3D printers to make prototype parts, has shown interest in his work, but Mr Florea is keeping his methods secret.
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CU-Boulder researchers develop 4-D printing technology for composite materials

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have successfully added a fourth dimension to their printing technology, opening up exciting possibilities for the creation and use of adaptive, composite materials in manufacturing, packaging and biomedical applications.

A team led by H. Jerry Qi, associate professor of mechanical engineering at CU-Boulder, and his collaborator Martin L. Dunn of the Singapore University of Technology and Design has developed and tested a method for 4D printing. The researchers incorporated “shape memory” polymer fibers into the composite materials used in traditional 3D printing, which results in the production of an object fixed in one shape that can later be changed to take on a new shape.

“In this work, the initial configuration is created by 3D printing, and then the programmed action of the shape memory fibers creates time dependence of the configuration – the 4D aspect,” said Dunn, a former CU-Boulder mechanical engineering faculty member who has studied the mechanics and physics of composite materials for more two decades.

The 4D printing concept, which allows materials to “self-assemble” into 3D structures, was initially proposed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty member Skylar Tibbits in April of this year. Tibbits and his team combined a strand of plastic with a layer made out of “smart” material that could self-assemble in water.

“We advanced this concept by creating composite materials that can morph into several different, complicated shapes based on a different physical mechanism,” said Dunn. “The secret of using shape memory polymer fibers to generate desired shape changes of the composite material is how the architecture of the fibers is designed, including their location, orientation and other factors.”

The CU-Boulder team’s findings were published last month in the journal Applied Physics Letters. The paper was co-authored by Qi “Kevin” Ge, who joined MIT as a postdoctoral research associate in September.

“The fascinating thing is that these shapes are defined during the design stage, which was not achievable a few years ago,” said Qi.

The CU-Boulder team demonstrated that the orientation and location of the fibers within the composite determines the degree of shape memory effects like folding, curling, stretching or twisting. The researchers also showed the ability to control those effects by heating or cooling the composite material.

Qi says 3D printing technology, which has existed for about three decades, has only recently advanced to the point that active fibers can be incorporated into the composites so their behavior can be predictably controlled when the object is subjected to thermal and mechanical forces.

The technology promises exciting new possibilities for a variety of applications. Qi said that a solar panel or similar product could be produced in a flat configuration onto which functional devices can be easily installed. It could then be changed to a compact shape for packing and shipping. After arriving at its destination, the product could be activated to form a different shape that optimizes its function.

As 3D printing technology matures with more printable materials and higher resolution at larger scales, the research should help provide a new approach to creating reversible or tunable 3D surfaces and solids in engineering like the composite shells of complex shapes used in automobiles, aircraft and antennas.

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