New Material Paves the Way for 3D Printing of Personal Electronic Devices
November 27, 2012 9:47 AM
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3D printing of personal electronics may be in our future
Researchers, led by Doctor Simon Leigh at the University of Warwick, have announced the creation of a simple and inexpensive conductive plastic composite that can be used in 3D printers. The researchers believe that the material, called carbomorph, could give hobbyists the ability to 3D print low-cost consumer electronics devices at home.
Carbomorph allows users to create electronic tracks and sensors as part of the 3D printed structure. That means that the 3D printer can print touch sensitive areas that can be connected to a simple electronic circuit board to operate.
The team of researchers has used the new material to print objects on embedded flex sensors and to create devices with touch sensitive buttons such as game controllers. In addition, the printed sensors they have created can be monitored using open-source electronics and free programming libraries.
"Designers could also use it to understand better how people tactilely interact with products by monitoring sensors embedded into objects,” said Leigh.
"However, in the short term I can see this technology having a major impact in the educational sector for example, allowing the next generation of young engineers to get hands-on experience of using advanced manufacturing technology to design fairly high-tech devices and products right there in the classroom."
According to the researchers, the next step for the project is to work on printing more complex structures and electronic components including wires and cables needed to connect the devices to the computer.
We reported earlier this week that researchers have developed a
3D printer that is capable of making implantable cartilage
that could someday help patients suffering from arthritis.
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RE: Patent and copyright holders crying
11/27/2012 6:01:51 PM
3D printers currently only duplicate rather large items. So while you can make a new case for your cell phone and maybe even print the main circuit board, you will still have to buy the chips, wires, touch interface, screen protecting glass, and the display (though the last three would probably be sold as one unit). Then you also have to get an OS.
In the end it will be like building your own desktop, you can, it is not very hard, but very few people do it since they do not want to spend the time.
"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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