A research team from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ONRL) has created a new model for how we can connect the way we power our homes and vehicles. Dubbed AMIE (Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy), the platform features special technology that allows a bi-directional flow of energy between a dwelling and a vehicle. In other words, the house can fuel the car and the car can fuel the house. What's more, ORNL used 3D printing technology to build the dwelling and the vehicle, before successfully trialing the new energy system.
Custom-made sports footwear is typically the preserve of professional athletes, but perhaps not for much longer. Adidas has unveiled a 3D-printed running shoe midsole concept that it hopes to make publicly available. Futurecraft 3D would be molded to the wearer's foot shape, for improved performance.
NASA has announced the winners of its 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge Design Competition.
The contest sought architectural concepts for how 3D printing might be
used to create shelters on the Red Planet. The overall winner, Ice
House, would be built using the planet's predicted abundant water
Foster + Partners has designed some of the most famous buildings in the world and, if one of its recent designs is anything to go by, it may soon have buildings on other planets, too. The firm has designed a shelter for up to four astronauts on Mars that would be 3D printed by a fleet of robots.
WASP (World's Advanced Saving Project) is set to unveil Big Delta, reportedly the world's largest delta 3D printer, later this week. This 12-meter (40 ft) tall behemoth was brought to life with the purpose of building nearly zero-cost housing through the use of local materials and as little energy as possible, offering quick and inexpensive relief to disaster areas and addressing the future housing needs of a rapidly growing world population.
Though the field is still relatively new, 3D-printed architecture could
prove a real boon to potential Mars colonizers. Inspired by NASA's competition
seeking ideas for potential 3D-printed Mars habitats, French firm
Fabulous has designed a conceptual shelter, dubbed Sfero, that would be
3D-printed on the Red Planet using locally-available materials.
The list of materials capable of being extruded through a 3D printer seems to grow by the week, moving well beyond plastics, food and metals to now include another unlikely substance: glass. And while previous 3D printing methods have used powdered glass and silica sand, a team of researchers led by Neri Oxman out of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group has developed a 3D printer that extrudes molten glass.
NASA has previously tested simple 3D-printed rocket components, such as combustion chambers and fuel injectors, but if the technique is to be practical, it has to cope with more complex items. Case in point is this 3D-printed rocket engine turbopump. Successfully built and tested at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the turbopump is described as "one of the most complex, 3D-printed rocket engine parts ever made."
3D printers may have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, but most are one trick ponies in that their computer-controlled syringes extrude only one material at a time to build up an object. It's a process that's slow, imprecise, and often requires items to be printed in separate pieces and then assembled. MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab's (CSAIL) MutliFab printer takes 3D printing technology a step further by combining 3D optical scanning with the ability to print using 10 different materials on the same job.