From aircraft Movie Camera to houses and even guns, just about anything can be 3D printed – as long as it’s not soft and squishy. Now the repertoire is about to get a lot more cuddly.
The first 3D printer that can churn out soft objects made its debut last month at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Toronto, Canada. It has already made small woollen teddy bears, and could one day be used to create electronics that are easy on the skin. That could pave the way for a new generation of body-monitoring sensors and lifelogging devices that can be discreetly embedded in clothing.
“The things that we hold close to our body, we would like them to be soft,” says Scott Hudson at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who led the team that devised the printer. He says he wants interactive devices, which are typically made of rigid materials, to be able to take on forms that we like having close to ourselves. … (Read more)