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Manufacturing - 3D printing

Harvard researchers the first to 3D print an organ-on-a-chip

Researchers at the Harvard Wyss Institute were the first to 3D print an organ-on-a-chip resembling a human heart which can be used to test drugs. The organ-on-a-chip has integrated sensors that automates the collection of data from the device, making it easier and more precise to measure its performance. This new method allows for the automated and mass production of organs-on-a-chip, leading to faster drug screening. Its 3D printing system can also be programmed to print other organs-on-a-chip such as the lung, gut, vascular system and more. The Wyss team plans to print 10 organ-on-a-chips and connect them to simulate the human body. 

Key Takeaway: 

Researchers from Harvard’s Wyss Institute have produced the first 3D printed organ-on-a-chip, a heart chip, with a system that can lead to the mass production of other organs-on-a-chip, resulting to faster screening of drugs without the need to test on animals or humans.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 27, 2016

Reebok pioneers 3D-printed shoes with Liquid Speed

Reebok introduced a new way to produce shoes that involves 3D printing the outsoles, creating rubber shoes that perform better and respond more flexibly to movement than traditional shoes. The 3D printing process allows the shoes to be produced without creating separate molds, an expensive and time-consuming process that is an industry trademark for 30 years. The novel method is the highlight of Reebok's plans to open a Liquid Factory in Rhode Island early next year. The factory will showcase a lab that will experiment with new manufacturing techniques. The company is selling 300 of the initial Liquid Speed designs at its website. The news is a confirming trend of footwear manufacturers bringing production back to the US.

Key Takeaway: 

Reebok is innovating how it manufactures its shoes by employing 3D printing techniques; it just introduced a new footwear that has 3D printed outsoles and is planning to build a Liquid Factory dedicated to new manufacturing methods by next year.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

First 3-D printed office building constructed in Dubai

The world's first 3-D printed office building dubbed Office of the Future has been completed in Dubai, Gizmag reports. The building is a single-story 2,700 square feet facility that took 17 days to print. Dubai plans to have 25% of its buildings built with 3-D printers by 2030. The team behind the structure which includes Chinese company WinSun used a 3-D printer that is 120 feet long, 40 feet wide and 20 feet high as well as other smaller printers. The building was printed in parts before being assembled on site for two days and costed just half of what it would take through traditional methods. It will become the office of the Dubai Future Foundation and the Museum of the Future by next year.

Key Takeaway: 

Dubai announced the opening of the first 3-D printed office building called Office of the Future in Dubai, part of the government's push to be a leader in 3-D printing.

Transforming Business Models: 
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Publication Date: 
May 25, 2016

MakerBot to outsource manufacturing of desktop 3-D printers

MakerBot announced that it will stop making its own 3-D printers in Brooklyn and will now outsource it to a contract manufacturing firm Jabil Circuit which, according to The Verge, has facilities in China. The company which was bought by Stratasys in 2013 struggled in an unpredictable consumer 3-D printing market where less expensive desktop 3-D printers can be bought for hundreds of dollars less, reports ExtremeTech. The company started with a maker kit in 2009 before making a complete 3-D printer, the Replicator, in 2012. Later on, the MakerBot Mini which was priced at $1,299 was released for consumers at the high end of the market. The company will shed off an undisclosed number of employees from its manufacturing team but will keep its repair and logistics in-house. According to Plastics News, MakerBot is turning its sights on the educational and professional markets while being optimistic for consumer 3-D printing in the long term. With its manufacturing outsourced, MakerBot can still compete with cheaper 3-D printers in the future.

Key Takeaway: 

3-D printing company MakerBot will start outsourcing the manufacturing of its 3-D printers to Jabil, which could enable it to better compete with cheaper 3-D printers in the market from a cost standpoint.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
April 26, 2016

Five robotics startups that have applications in various industries

Entrepreneur magazine recently featured five robotics startups that have robots useful for various fields like manufacturing, mining, construction, distribution, medical and research. Blue Workforce makes modular pick-and-place robots for tasks like packing, sorting, manufacturing and stocking and can be used by food companies, logistics warehouses, waste handling facilities and others. Transcend Robotics designed crawling robots that are already in use by the mining industry for site surveillance and toxic gas sensing. Universal Robots' collaborative robots, meant to work alongside humans, can automate repetitive tasks like machine tending, assembly, gluing, polishing and product testing. Formlabs claims to have the most advanced desktop 3-D printer which prints in high resolution prototypes, prosthetics, implants, medical devices and more. Lastly, BOTFactory makes 3-D printers that can print electronic circuit boards individually which are now being used by universities, researchers and hobbyists. These companies took part in the RoboUniverse expo held in New York City.

Key Takeaway: 

Robotics startups Blue Workforce, Transcend Robotics, Universal Robots, Formlabs and BotFactory were mentioned in Entrepreneur magazine as promising startups that could transform jobs in various fields changing the way people work.

Market Disruptions: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
April 19, 2016

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