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3D Pioneers Challenge Winners Range from 3D Printed Helmets to Bioprinted Meat

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The winners of the 3D Pioneers Challenge have just been announced. The First Prizer winner of one of 3D printing’s most prestigious awards was the 3D printed helmet from HEXR, which also won the FashionTech category. Winner Robin Spicer and his team receive €10,000 and an nTopology license. The HEXR is a 3D printed bike helmet that is available for purchase now. Made with Arkema’s Rilsan Polyamide 11, which comes from castor beans, the custom-fit helmet promises better protection, comfort and aerodynamics.

Felicia Hamm, from Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, won the “Best Student Award” taking hom €4,000 and a MakerBot Sketch for her “Self Adjusting Fire” project. The fireplace-oven combination opens and closes according to the weight of the wood on top of it as it burns. In this way, it is more energy-efficient than other ovens and fireplaces.

In the Mobility category, the Waldwiesel “Gravel” e-bike was the winner for Urwahn Engineering and Sebastian Meinecke. Here, 3D printing was used in the frame and Jury member Ross Lovegrove stated, “In the new age of design, engineering and design converges, dealing in a new way with energy. The new generation of cyclist is being privileged to be able to ride this elegant and advanced bike.“ Anyone who has been reading my series on 3D printing for the cycling industry will know that this was a personal favorite.

3D Medlab and Laura Revol won the MedTech category with their Custom made mitral valve. This project aims to make customized NiTinol implants that decrease morbidity through a CAD-to-implant workflow for these devices. The valve’s struts are even custom-made to change the force and flow of the valve for better outcomes.

Israeli company MeaTech won in the Technology & Process category for its 3D printed meat. MeaTech, which we’ve covered in the past, uses umbilical cord samples from animals like cows and incubates and grows them into edible products.

Lithium Designers by way of Alamir Mohsen won the Architecture prize with their Hive 3D printed facade concept.

Protomycokion by Lund University, with Ana Goidea and David Andréen, won in the Sustainability and Material category. This concept is a unification of a material extrusion process with living fungus, which is then bound with wood particles after deposition, resulting in a novel biological material that could replace polymers.

The winner in the Digital category was THE BRUSH by Philipp Süß. The Brush is a 3D printed tool that hopes to allow users to manipulate the virtual world. Valentina Kerst of the State secretary Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society Thuringia, said of the concept, “Advanced Technologies are used so wisely in this winning entry. They rethink a traditional product from the ground up and completely redesign its performance. The jury was impressed about how the team used digital tools to realise the concept.“

“Again – we are thrilled of this years pioneers. Every time we think there is no increase possible, advanced technologies teach us better – these creative minds never stop pushing boundaries. We are proud that it is the 3DPC platform where everyone can feel the paradigm shift of this pulsating epoch,” said Founders of the 3D Pioneers Awards, Simone and Christoph Völcker.

Entries came from 32 countries and were winnowed down and selected by a 21 member jury. This was done in several rounds with one made up of a grueling discussion that lasted until two in the morning.

I was honored to be a part of the jury and have never before encountered a group that was as serious, diligent, and exacting in its selection of awards. The 3D Pioneers Challenge was conceived as a way to urge the technology of 3D printing ever onward and upward and I really believe that this year has a suite of reachable, but ambitious entries that could collectively help engender a more exciting future for 3D printing.

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