This week’s news brings us from China to Taiwan and the Netherlands, with two art projects and the announcement that the Shanghai Children’s Hospital has just opened a medical research unit devoted to 3D printed solutions. Also, China’s ElecFreaks will 3D print your 5×5 cm designs for free if you help spread the word about their portable 3D printer via social media. Speaking of portable, a man has converted his old Fisher Price Cassette Player into a Bluetooth speaker. A Taiwanese artist has 3D printed two endangered animal figurines — a bear and a rhino — and a Rotterdam-based artist locked himself in a room for several days to create a stunning digital/ 3D printed artwork that definitely feels otherworldly. Finally, Mycroft is the world’s first effort to establish open source Artificial Intelligence involving 3D printing, and the team has a Kickstarter campaign to raise $99,000 in the next 25 days!
Man Converts Old Fisher Price Cassette Player into a Bluetooth Speaker
Do you remember those old Fisher Price cassette players that were around in the 80’s? Well, if yours is still laying around, you can breathe new life into it by converting it into a functional Bluetooth speaker. And Matt Gruskin, the man who undertook this project, reports that it isn’t as easy as it might sound! The recorder was manufactured in 1987, and it needed a major overhaul to work again. He was able to reuse pieces but he also needed to make new ones — including designing a PCB slot adapter using OpenSCAD. That part was then printed using an Ultimaker 3D printer, and some trial and error was required to get it right. You can check out how he did all of this if you are interested in trying this conversion here.
China’s ElecFreaks Offers Free 3D Printing
ElecFreaks of China has been busy promoting its portable 3D printer, and it has been highly successful in its Indiegogo campaign raising $136,254 — 684% of its original $20,000 USD goal! To celebrate, ElecFreaks is offering free 3D printing to anyone who engages social media by the end of Saturday, August 15, and doesn’t mind posting this link. The campaign ends very soon, so just follow the guidelines, Tweet the link, and send along your own 5×5 cm designs to be printed by ElecFreaks for free! Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Free 3D printing in exchange for a little social media publicity?
Artist 3D Prints Endangered Bear and Rhino Fugurines
A Taiwanese artist, Amao Chen, has designed and printed two different toys to call attention to the plight of endangered species. One is the adorable Formosan black bear and the other is a rhino. Both display cube-like designs, with angular lines and smooth surfaces. The Formosan bear is unique to Taiwan, and this particular project was undertaken so Chen could honor a bear that was killed by another bear in 2013 in the Kaohsiung Shoushan Zoo (Taipei.) Also, the rhino was chosen because four out of five rhino species are critically endangered as well. If you are interested in printing your own versions of these designs, the rhino is here and the bear is here.
Rotterdam Artist 3D Prints Stunning Alien-Inspired Display
Speaking of 3D printed art projects, Artist Martijn Hage gets inspiration from combining both organic and mechanical processes, and he’s done this in a visually stunning 9 piece panel entitled “Hortus Filamentus.” The project was hatched while Hage was locked into the Tower Room of the VondelCS building in Amsterdam. The idea of creating a work in solitude was the inspiration for his lock in from August 4 – 7, and yes, it worked. He emerged with a piece that has digitally created panels with matching 3D parts. He presented his finished product on August 7.
Dutch 3D printing manufacturer Ultimaker provided Hage with two 3D printers and Innofil3D provided him with premium grade filament for the project. Now, after the experience, Hage is impressed with 3D printing’s potential in the art world and this will likely not be his last project that involves 3D printing.
First Artificial Intelligence Open Source Platform: Mycroft
A Kickstarter campaign has just been launched by Mycroft, which wants to create an open source platform for Artificial Intelligence that will play media, control home lighting, and more. This platform will use developments in Arduino and the Raspberry Pi 2. The idea is that you will be able to use your natural voice to give the system commands, and since the system uses Raspberry Pi 2 and Arduino, it will have many unlimited applications and opportunities for expansion. The team explains it needs to raise $99,000 in the next 26 days, but it also states that this won’t even be enough money for the entire project. It will be enough to get the project off the ground and show that there’s interest out there for open source Artificial Intelligence.
First 3D Printing Medical Research Unit Opens in Shanghai
More and more people all over the world are seeing the value in 3D printing for medical applications, and we see constant development in this field. In Shanghai, China, in fact, the Children’s Medical Center has opened up its first medical research unit devoted to 3D printing. The unit’s grand opening was on August 13, and it is supported by Belgian company Materialise. The pediatric-focused unit plans to concentrate its efforts on digital modelling, medical imaging, clinical applications and digital fabrications. The target diseases in children will include congenital heart and bronchial softening diseases, and premature skull formations. 3D printing is especially effective in pediatric procedures since young children’s organs are not as developed as adult organs. 3D printed models help surgeons and researchers understand complex surgical procedures better, before possibly endangering a child in a delicate surgery.
China has been one of the world’s leaders in 3D printing application for medical purposes, and this new addition of a pediatric unit, supported by Materialise, is more proof that we can expect possibly big developments from China!
Let’s hear your thoughts on any of these stories in the 3D Printing Stories We Missed forum thread on 3DPB.com.