3-D Printed Cap Detects When Milk Goes Bad

biohazardWhen exactly does your milk go bad? There’s a helpful “sell-by” date printed on the packaging to give you an idea of the liquid’s shelf life. But at best, that date is an educated guess. Of course, sometimes it’s really obvious when milk has gone sour. But sometimes, it’s not so easy to tell. Fortunately for me, Jen has a keen skill for detecting when food products have gone bad. But on my own, I know I’ve consumed my fair share of food items that were probably better sent down the drain or into the trash.

Once again, new technology comes to the rescue in the battle against spoiled milk. Using 3-D printing, engineers have developed a cap that can be used with milk jugs to determine when the milk has gone bad. The cap uses a special sensor that’s able to detect changes in electrical signals caused by the proliferation of bacteria. To test your milk, all you need to do is tip the container until some of the milk comes in contact with the cap. From there, the cap will indicate if the milk is still good or not.

Researchers are hoping to find ways to expand this technology to other food products, eventually including things like Internet connectivity so food sensors can report directly to computers or smartphone apps. Finally, we’ll able to use an actual product of science to know when our leftovers have become an actual science project of their own!

3-D Printed Headphones Are Here

3-D headphonesAs more and more people are consuming audio like music and podcasts on the go, the need for headphones has increased. But many headphones are either easy to lose or they stop working after a short period of time. I know I’ve been stuck many times over the years having to face a long bus ride with a fully charged media player and a portable set of headphones that no longer work, no matter how much I manipulated the audio cord and connection jack. Now, getting that next pair of headphones might be as simple as firing up the nearest 3-D printer.

These headphones are the work of designer Maxime Loiseau and they use an innovative design in terms of an electronic device being created with 3-D printing. The process uses what’s called “roll to roll” manufacturing, making the parts very thin. In fact, these 3-D printed headphones are made from only eight pieces, where a typical set of phones could require up to 50 individual parts.

Since these headphones are made with “printed electronics,” there’s need for only one wire for each headphone. And if you’re worried that these headphones will sound weak, don’t. The speakers are made with piezoelectric cells that provide quality comparable to traditional headphones.

The headphones are powered by Bluetooth and they use a lithium-ion battery. The battery is also made as part of the 3-D printing process. These headphones were presented during New York Design Week 2015. They are likely to go thru some tweaking and modifications before hitting the production line. Check out this video to see the production process in action.

New Matter MOD-t 3D Printer

New Matter logoPersonally I’m not convinced by the vision of a 3D printer in every home though I’m constantly reminded of IBM’s Thomas Watson and his alleged statement regarding the need for only five computers in the world. New Matter don’t have my doubts and are working hard to produce an affordable 3D printer for the home. Steve Schell brings in some printed objects for Don to admire.

New Matter are building an ecosystem around their new 3D printer, the MOD-t, to make life as easier as possible for owners. No experience of 3D modelling is required, with pre-made models in their online store. Some are free of charge, others cost a fee; it’s up to the designer. All the major 3D model formats are supported so keen owners can create their own designs if desired. It’s a single head printer so only one colour of plastic polymer can be used at a time, though the material can be changed during a print run. If I’m wrong and you want one in your home, the New Matter’s MOD-t 3D printer will be available in the summer for less than $400.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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MakerBot Brings Robohand to CES

MakerBot logo

3-D printing has come a long way over the last year or so. But it’s still seen primarily as a curiosity by most people. Of course, those in the know have always realized 3-D printing’s true potential. And the great minds over at MakerBot had some fine examples of that potential at CES 2015.

Jamie caught up with Jen Howard, Director of Public Relations at MakerBot. Jen related the story of how two engineers on opposite ends of the planet worked together to fabricate a prosthetic “Robohand” for a man who had recently lost his hand in a work accident. Jen also showed off a 3-D printed skeleton that would go well in a classroom environment.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly for the TechPodcast Network.

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Whiteclouds displays its 3D printing

whitecloudsFor those who can’t afford a 3D printer, which with current pricing, likely includes the vast majority of us, Whiteclouds will handle that part for you.

The company stopped by to visit with Todd and Jeffrey during CES 2014 in Las Vegas. The rep explained exactly what Whiteclouds can do for you, which includes using your rough sketches, or even getting a description right over the phone. In the video below you’ll get a look at exactly what is possible, as some items the company created with its 3D printers are shown off. Depending on what you want printed, the price can vary. For instance, an architect looking for a model of a home plan should expect to pay somewhere in the $600-$2,000 range, depending on size. Find out more by visiting WhiteClouds.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine

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3D Printed Airplane Takes Flight

3D printers have become all of the rage these days and there are plenty of good reasons for that.  After all, these devices can do some pretty amazing things like creating spectacular architectural models and even working gears that are ready to go immediately upon render.  But how about printing a model airplane that can actually fly?  Yes, they can now do that also.

This isn’t a small model either – it has a 6.5 foot wingspan.  It was created by students at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and they have posted a video of the model actually taking flight.  This isn’t the first time that 3D printer device has accomplished this feat, but it may be the first time it has been pulled off by students.

The era of 3D printing has certainly arrived and we are seeing better and more advanced projects appearing all of the time.  We certainly aren’t at the point where we can print a real aircraft, but medical devices are already being developed using these incredible pieces of hardware.

"Printed" plane and creators

Source: UVA Today

MakerBot Replicator Prints 3D Objects

MakerBot ReplicatorIf you’ve never come across a MakerBot before, think of it is an inkjet printer, which instead of printing on paper with ink, prints a three dimensional object with plastic. Andy and Don investigate further with Bre from MakerBot.

Announced at CES, the MakerBot Replicator is bigger and better, with an increased volume capacity and the dual extrusion, i.e. able to create objects from two materials, most usually two colours. Model files can be downloaded from Thingiverse in the STL file format and there’s no shortage of different objects to try out.

Bre shows off some different objects, from hard cubes to stretchy bands, all of which were printed out on the Replicator previously. The Stanford bunny puts in a special appearance for modelling geeks.

The new Replicator costs $1750 for a single extruder and $1999 for a dual extruder. There’s a bit of a lead time at the moment because of its popularity with deliveries expected in a couple of months.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net and Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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Sculpteo

Sculpeto The idea of creating a personal 3D item sound appealing, however the expense and the required design skills has kept it out of reach of most consumers. 3D printing has gotten cheaper over the last couple of years, however, even the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic a kit you can build yourself is over a $1,000. Which means they are not quite yet ready for the consumer market. However solutions to these problems starting to show up in the market. One such solution appeared this week in Las Vegas.

At CES 2012 Sculpteo a French based 3D printing company introduced an app for the iPhone and iPad. The app allows customers to create personal objects. You take a picture person in profile. You then choose the model from the collection that you want to co-design. The collection includes such objects as vases, mugs and other objects. You then order and pay for the design. Sculpteo prices run from $50.00 up to $450. Sculpteo then prints it up for you as a 3D object. The default printing material is ceramic, but you can choose different materials and colors. I expect overtime the process will get better, there will be more design choices and the prices will drop also. The 3D market for the consumer is just in its infancy, it can only get better.   I’d be interested if anyone has used the app, and how they liked the product they received back.