All those thinking about participating in challenges, competitions, and other venues that get startups ‘out there’ should take note of Voxel8 and their recent success. In a nod to the superb benefits of putting the time and effort into exploring and innovating, participating, networking, and sharing, the startup has been handpicked by The Mitre Corporation as the shining star to lead the way in producing 3D printed array antennas for one of their government sponsors.
Standing out as the frontrunners while their concepts and prototypes shone in the 2014 MassChallenge, Voxel 8 walked away with $50K in cash awards for their uniquely designed 3D printer that allows the user to embed electronics and other devices within 3D prints.
The MassChallenge is a mentor-based competition committed to encouraging and fostering success in young, beginning entrepreneurs. They state that one part of their mission is to ‘catalyze a startup renaissance,’ and so far they seem to be bringing that home if the empowerment and success of Voxel8 is any indication.
With a desire to give inventors the chance to show off their concepts, they work to help them ‘define’ their futures, offering assistance in finding the proper resources to reinforce that. Their main events lie in the accelerator programs and startup competitions, help with resources, and offering opportunities for further education and networking.
One impetus to put on the event each year is to ferret out and highlight talent for federal government projects in defense, aviation, security, health, and more. While Voxel8 was competing in the challenge and showing off their design, they caught the eye of one of the engineers at The Mitre Corporation who had a lightbulb go off in terms of how to finally produce what was needed for a challenging project that they had at hand in. This challenge was the replacing gimbal-based reflector dish antennas with single, low-profile, wideband electronically scanned antennas.
“When I saw what Voxel8 could do, I was hopeful that their technology could be the solution to our problem – that we could realize the new phased array antenna using Voxel8’s 3D printer,” said Jamie Hood, a mechanical engineer in MITRE’s Mechanical & Reliability Engineering Department.
Everything certainly seems to be coming up roses for this startup lately, founded by Jennifer A. Lewis, a professor of biologically inspired engineering at Harvard University.
The Voxel8 team announced just recently that they had received funding from Braemar Energy Ventures for work on 3D printed electronics, and then they hit 2015 International CES full force, heralding enormous attention for the unveiling of their electronics 3D printer. It’s easy to see why the machine gets enthusiasts excited as the process includes a separate nozzle that prints the conductive filament, which is 5000x more conductive than anything else out on the market.
“The capabilities Voxel8 provides are nonexistent on the market today. Without access to local innovation through involvement in MassChallenge, we would still be searching for a solution to realize our design,” said Hood.
Voxel8, based out of Somerville, MA, is on a successful mission so far to complete the challenging task of revolutionizing 3D printing even further with innovative parts, new materials, and new 3D printing platforms and software. Have you been following Voxel8 in the headlines, and is their 3D printer one that you are interested in working with? Tell us about it in the Voxel8 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.