Neurotechnology Explains Ultrasonic Manipulation in 3D Printing

Share this Article

Earlier this week, we heard about a new 3D printing method based on ultrasonic manipulation technology. Lithuanian company Neurotechnology‘s Ultrasound Research Group is led by research engineer Dr. Osvaldas Putkis, who in a video introduced their new method with a prototype machine.

Dr. Putkis shows off different components of the machine, which includes an ultrasonic array, mounted camera, and laser. At a glance it looks like a desktop 3D printer, but this is no extrusion-based technology. The proof of concept demonstrated is a non-contact assembly of a printed circuit board (PCB) which itself isn’t so much 3D printed as it is put together — but this initial showing is not all that Neurotechnology has up its research sleeves.

Below is Dr. Putkis’ introduction to ultrasonic manipulation technology, with a look at the prototype machine and its capability in non-contact creation:

So what are they planning? Dr. Putkis answers A Few Questions For us to fill us in more about this patent-pending technology.

What inspired work with ultrasonic manipulation technology for use with 3D printing technology?

“We were intrigued by the versatility of ultrasonic manipulation. As it is a non-contact handling method, it is possible to manipulate materials and components that have very different mechanical properties and shapes, not to mention its ability to handle small or sensitive components. We saw the opportunity to use this technology to build a ‘universal ultrasonic gripper’ that would improve 3D printing technology.”

What can you tell us about the new 3D printing technology?

“The new technology will employ ultrasonic manipulation for positioning various components (such as electronic components) and/or depositing material (such as plastics). This will enable the development of more general and versatile printers, that are capable of, say, printing whole electronic devices.”

How does 3D printing incorporating ultrasonic technology compare with existing 3D printing techniques?

“Current 3D printing techniques can only print the particular material they are designed for. We believe that ultrasonic manipulation technology will enable the creation of printers that can not only deposit certain materials but also assemble electronic circuits or deposit a wide range of materials. In other words, it would add versatility to the 3D printers. However, things like printing speed, component welding and dispensing approaches need to be addressed and researched before such a technology could be applied in the 3D printing process.”

Dr. Osvaldas Putkis

What have you created using this method so far? What kinds of applications will this extend to?

“We have built an early prototype that can assemble simple electronic circuits. An array of ultrasonic transducers is used for non-contact transportation and positioning of electronic components and a laser is used to solder those components to a PCB board, also in a non-contact way. An on-board camera is used to coordinate the whole process, detect the PCB and component positions, calibrate the laser, etc. Currently, the prototype is a technology-demonstrator and can only handle components that are not smaller than approx 0.5mm. However, if higher frequency ultrasonic waves would be used, even the smallest electronic components could be manipulated. This is a challenge for pick-and-place machines and will probably become an even a bigger issue as the size of electronic components continues to shrink in the future. However, if we want to create a more general printer, we still need to implement the deposition process of other materials or components.”

Will this technology eventually be commercialized?

“There is still a lot of research and development to be done before this technology will find its way to end-user products. We are seeking partnerships that would help speed up the development and commercialization of this technology.”

As partnerships remain a key path forward for many in the 3D printing industry, we’ll be interested to follow along with any future collaborations that move ultrasonic manipulation further into 3D printing. Share your thoughts in the Neurotechnology forum at 3DPB.com.

[All images: Neurotechnology via YouTube screenshot]

 

Share this Article


Recent News

Equispheres Receives $8 Million from SDTC to Scale Metal 3D Printing Powder Production

3D Printed Diagnostics: Smartphone Attachments & Software for Detecting Parasitic Infections



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing News Briefs: March 23, 2018

We’re starting off with some major medical news in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs – Materialise is the first company in the world to receive FDA clearance for 3D printed...

Get Ready, Makers: OtterBox Has Released CAD Designs for 3D Printable uniVERSE Case System Accessory Mount

The same day I purchased my very first iPhone several years ago, I also bought a light purple OtterBox case for it, having been told by all of my other...

Researchers Use Inkjet 3D Printing to Create Fast, Accurate, Inexpensive Diagnostic Tool

From whirligigs and models to printers and smart bathrooms, 3D printing technology has definitely made an impact on diagnostics. Healthcare workers use diagnostic tools to detect and determine the severity...

3D Printed MRI-Compatible Biopsy Robot Works to Diagnose Breast Cancer

I first truly became aware of 3D technology sometime in 2010 or 2011, when I went to the mall with my co-worker during our lunch break to grab a chili...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Services & Data

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!