If there’s one thing I’m picking up on this week, it’s that what happens in Vegas most certainly does not stay in Vegas. The announcements rolling in from CES 2017 are abundant and spreading like wildfire. Yesterday marked the first official day of the largest trade show in North America — and the world’s largest consumer technology show — and I was on the go all day to see all the latest first-hand and talk to those behind the newest advances. Naturally, today I’m feeling rather worse for wear (that’s what I get for waking up in Vegas?), but before I venture again into the fray I wanted to share some of what I saw at the first day of this year’s CES.
I spent the vast majority of my day at The Sands Expo, where the 3D Printing Marketplace is showcasing 54 companies from the industry. The booths are eye-catching and many — while 54 may not be the biggest number of exhibitors (not taking into account other 3D printing companies, like Nano Dimension, that are in other areas of the millions-of-square-feet exhibition spaces of the show), the news coming from these companies is mighty. We’ll continue our coverage of these announcements as they roll in, and we’re hearing about new 3D printers, new toolheads, new materials, new software, and more from all corners — and stay tuned for detailed coverage of our exclusive interviews right from the show.
My first stop yesterday was at the ZMorph booth, where I caught up with Przemek Jaworski, CEO and lead designer of ZMorph 2.0 SX. One of our writers is currently testing out this multi-functional piece of hardware, and it’s certainly a desktop machine that packs a lot of punch. As Jaworski underscored, it’s not all about 3D printing — the ultimate goal is to provide solutions. I also met Preet Jesrani, President of DesignBox3D, an Ohio-based reseller of ZMorph’s machines, at the booth. Poland’s ZMorph is certainly on track for their goal of increasing their presence in the US through work with their expanding reseller network.
At Sculpteo’s booth, CEO and Co-Founder Clément Moreau showed me a demo of their all-new artificial intelligence-enhanced metal 3D printing project software, Agile Metal Technology. The system really is easy to use and pretty intuitive — it’s going to go a long way in truly making metal additive manufacturing more accessible. The Business Case module Moreau demonstrated is streamlined, efficient, and continuously learning from inputs. I also had the opportunity to see their metal 3D printed bike more closely, having already checked it out briefly the night before at Pepcom’s event. At the booth, the bicycle is being showcased as a functional piece as a woman rides it on a stationary stand.
To get more insights into some use cases, I stopped by the Formlabs booth, where I met with two users of their 3D printing technology. We already heard about the incredible work GE engineer Lyman Connor is doing with his Handsmith project, and I had the opportunity to speak with him about how he got started, his goals, and how 3D printing is bringing the cost of bionic hands down to affordable levels to give amputees the opportunity to access the prosthetics that would help them — for much less than the $50K-$70K that has become the unfortunate standard. I also spoke with Chief Growth Officer Mickey Ferri and VP of Software Experience Russell Jahn of Enflux at the Formlabs booth, as these two told me about the 3D printed sensor cases used in their motion-capture clothing. The sensors encased in the clothes can capture the movements of the body, easing the process for animators and others in several fields — and 3D printing the cases, which are currently used in the final production clothes, streamlined the time to market while cutting costs. Below, Connor demonstrates his hand’s functionality for 3DPrint.com:
In a private room away from the hubbub of the main floor, I talked with Stuart Mead, CEO; Phil Newman, Chief Marketing Officer; and Graham Fogarty of Fuel3D to check out the latest in precision 3D scanning. The company is introducing two new scanning technologies at CES, set for release this summer, and they both look pretty impressive. The first, a 360 rig, captures 42 images in 0.3 seconds and automatically stitches the best images together to form a complete image. While the Fuel3D 360 Scanner setup does look a bit frightening (especially with a mannequin head set up in the middle of it), there’s no arguing the results. The demo of that scanner I saw was truly quick — 0.3 seconds goes by in a literal flash as the seven individual scanners on the rig flashed as they quickly scanned. The second new piece, the Fuel3D Desktop Scanner, works in 0.14 seconds and captures nano levels of precise detail for smaller work. I also had the chance to get my own face scanned using their existing mirror scanner setup created with Sfered, and this went by in a flash as well; where this video looks like it’s cutting out, it’s just the mirror’s scanners flashing in tandem — and the process goes by quickly. The resulting scan of my face was a little frightening in its third dimensional digital rendering, frankly, as most of us aren’t used to seeing our features in high-def.
At the Artec 3D booth back on the floor, I chatted with Chief Business Development Officer Andrei Vakulenko about the latest from this almost nine-year-old company. The newest scanner from Artec, the RoboticScan, features a robotic arm that automatically moves around the object to be scanned, and was in action on the floor, showing quick highly detailed scans resulting in real time. Also upcoming from Artec is what Vakulenko called their smartest scanner yet. We’ll be hearing more soon about the Leo scanner, as the hardware is now ready to go and the software is almost complete. The company also has their Shapify booth on the floor, ready to scan about 800 people each day — and this was a popular option, as the line to be scanned was pretty constant during the time I spent with the Artec team and as I saw the booth in passing throughout the day.
As day two of CES is gearing up, I’m looking forward to another very full day of interviews with some of the biggest names in consumer-oriented technology. Stay tuned to 3DPrint.com to keep up with all the news straight from CES![All images and video taken by Sarah Goehrke for 3DPrint.com]