Five 3D-Printed Objects That Will Blow Your Mind

An article I wrote for Electronic Products.

With a 3D printer and some imagination, you can create just about anything

Though 3D printers are still too expensive to make their way across the globe into our homes next to our tablets and flat-screen TVs, the few lucky early adopters who got their hands on them have created extraordinary three-dimensional objects. While 3D-printed clothing and toys are impressive, below are some mind-blowing creations that prove 3D-printers are totally worth it.

3D-printed self-assembling robot

The future is coming, and it’s coming fast. By now, we’ve already heard about robots that can assemble themselves, but a 3D-printed robot that can do the same is ridiculously impressive. The innocent-looking inchworm robot pictured below was created by researchers from Harvard and MIT, and it has no problem assembling itself to inch about. The only human intervention was attaching the robot’s motor and battery. The next step will be a more complicated robot that builds itself and walks away, and it will come pre-assembled with a battery and motor. All we have to do now is wait for the day when robots become smart enough to print themselves out.

3D Printed Robot
MIT and Harvard’s 3D-printed inchworm robot can assemble itself. Image via inhabitat.com.

Fetus

Instead of using a picture of your ultrasound to get a peek at your unborn bundle of joy, cradle an actual 3D print of your baby in fetus form. The Japanese firm, Fasotec and Hiroo Ladies Clinic offers expecting parents 3D models of their pride and joy for about $1,275. Called Tenshi or Katachi, which translates to “Shape of an Angel,” the product is based on a digital model of the mother’s torso built from CT or MRI scans, so the result is a scale reproduction of your beloved little wonder.

3D Fetus
3D-printed model of a fetus. Image via discovery.com.

Medical models

Can 3D-printing save your life? These days, it can be very likely. Now that doctors have access to 3D-printed medical models, they have a less-expensive and safer alternative to learn about the human anatomy. Planning a surgery on a printed model before the actual patient goes under the knife reduces the chance of mistakes and complications during the procedure. Doctors, along with researchers and medical device manufacturers, can now work quicker, test more thoroughly, and customize like never before.

3D Medical Model
With 3D-printed medical models, doctors can plan a surgery before the patient goes under the knife. Image via hongkiat.com.

Pizza

Ever wish that you could have the perfect meal right in front of you within a matter of seconds? With so many things being 3D-printed, from clothing to robots, why not food? NASA has given a grant to the Systems & Materials Research Corporation to create a machine that can make an edible 3D pizza. All of the carbs, proteins, and macro and micro nutrients will be in powder form, and are predicted to last about 30 years. NASA is beginning this new era of tastier, more nutritious space food with pizza because it’s a food that can be printed in layers. The printer will start with dough, add a powdered form of tomato sauce mixed with water and oil placed on the dough, and lastly, cover the printed pizza with a layer of protein.

Hungry for more information? Read Electronic Products’ article on 3D-printed pizza.

3D Pizza NASA
Astronauts will soon be able to enjoy nutritious, Earth-like meals while exploring space. Image via media1.com.

Cars

Sometime in the near future, you can be cruising behind the wheel of an unheard-of vehicle. Fuel efficient and made of 40 large 3D-printed thermoplastic parts, the URBEE 2 will be set to hit the road just two years from now. According to its developers, RedEye On Demand and its parent company, Stratasys, once URBEE 2 is ready to roll, it will travel from San Francisco to New York on just 10 gallons of biofuel such as ethanol.

3D Car
URBEE 2, the 3D-printed car. Image via dezeen.com.

What do you think of 3D-printing? Ever got to use a 3D-printed object before? Let us know in the comments section below!

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6 comments

  1. Hi Nicole,
    I saw a documentary about this some months ago, quite amazing. I also saw that one guy actually printed a one shot hand gun, so as always new technology can be used for good and bad. I believe it´s mostly for the good like the medical part for planning surgeries.The fetus actually gave me the willies and I don´t know about edible 3D pizza..go figure they say the microwave gives out radiation which can cause you cancer, the same with cell phones, so I´ts just until people get used to it they´ll feel more comfortable at eating 3D printed pizza. In my experience I found out, that when new products are launched like the I-paid, or whatever type of new revolutionary electronic devise it´s preferable as a customer not be the first to buy it, first see how it´s functioning for others(I think it was apple that launched a product everyone went to get it in masses and then they found there was something wrong with it or that it didn´t function as good as advertised) so I´m not gonna be a guinea pig. But eventually you´ll catch up, quickly.
    Let´s see if you can help me out on this one, two questions
    -Don´t these products have a time limit and then they disintegrate? and the second which is completely unrelated, I checked the Linkedin thing, saw your profile quite an accomplished one. The question being, why the hell do these guys want to manage my email account. After I registered I got the notification thanking me and also basically saying that they are able to grab my private contacts and use it for public use.I immediately hit the remove Linkedin from my yahoo account, but did I understood it wrong? If not, isn´t it a bit creepy that a server can have access to all that information not only about me but my contacts and use it for whatever they want to use it which I don´t know why they would want to use it, can they change the content then?, it´s confusing. Since I saw you have one and it seems to be going quite good for you I thought I might ask what do you think of the questions, if I´m getting paranoid here…or what am I reading wrong and what are the advantages.
    P.S: I know that´s more than two questions, but I´d appreciate if you can un-confuse my little disk drive of a brain.I´m new to all this internet world, social media thing. Anyways if you can get back to me about this stuff I´d be thankful and if your unable that´s cool too, you sure have a bunch of things to do. Stay Frosty Miss. Nicole.

    • I totally agree about the 3D-printed pizza. I would not let myself ingest that. I don’t even use the microwave.
      About your first question, I honestly have not heard about 3D-products disintegrating. During my research on the topic, I found that most 3D-printed products are made from layers of thermoplastics, metal ceramics, plastic ceramics, different kinds of metal, or edible materials. Where did you hear about that? I’m curious, but can’t seem to find anything on the good ol’ Internet.
      About LinkedIn, they won’t be able to “manage” your email account, they ask permission to have access to your account so that they can try to match you up with your email contacts who are on LinkedIn. I personally don’t like that either, and I did what you did– I didn’t give them access to my contacts (though I’m sure it’s not really a big deal, I’ve just never liked the idea of it, like you and many others), and found who I wanted to find on the website by searching on my own. It’s nothing to worry about, you should be able to deny their access and move right along to building your profile. I find LinkedIn beneficial to have, especially in such a digital age. It’s important to have a positive online presence, especially for job seekers. I hope I helped! “Disk drive of a brain.” Ha ha. I like that. All of this social media stuff is easy to learn. You’ll get with the times in no time. 🙂

      • Cody Wilson,2nd year University of Texas of Law (Texas no wonder),influenced by anti-state&libertarian thinkers, from left wing market anarchist,capitalist libertarians and classical liberals. Don´t know how you put all that together in your head to make your head make some sense. But he is the founder and director of Defense Distributed, develops and publishes open source gun designs, so called Wiki Weapons suitable for 3D printing. I´m going to write an article about this guy in Spain, they´ll probably crucify the poor man, or the U.S as a hole. But like it or not what he does, you gotta give it to him that he had that vision because there is a demand for it. Although people may not agree I included, he did have a vision strange one but a vision as to how make money.

      • Hey charlypriest,

        I’d love to read your article on Wilson. It should be interesting. I’ve read some stuff about 3D guns before. It’s pretty amazing and a bit scary at the same time that it’s possible to create weapons that way.

      • I´d like to find some magazine here in Spain that would be interested, you guys have much much more opportunities there for all types of journalism, much more diverse. I can attest to that since one person in my family is a pretty well known journalist. Can even find him over there in the Library of Congress, no kidding. So if my mission is successful I´ll e-mail it to you, and you to Hearst Corporation…not really, but to follow what this guy is going to do is going to be interesting, don´t know if bad or good but sure will be newsworthy, YOU should follow him maybe expose him, and win a Pulitzer, no joke I was reading a blog of this girl that studies journalism and the post I was reading was one that another young university girl had won a Pulitzer for exposing some sexual harassment by a professor of the University of Pennsylvania towards other student´s, female I guess. So my question to her was what are the prerequisits to win one of those, cause my family member did a piece in the 80´s about how the soviet union had missiles pointing at Spain, he didn´t win nothing and I figure that has to be a greater story than a professor harassing students(not that is not good to expose that just saying in the grand scheme of things) The only answer I got was to send me to their page. Even you, I think in the big picture your articles are much more relevant to society than what that other student got a Pulitzer for, don´t you think?

      • Thank you.
        Even if you just write about it on your blog, that would be good. You can post it across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Though it’s not the same as having it published on a well known newspaper or website, if you’re interested in bringing the story to the surface, show it off by doing what you can. It’ll definitely be a great piece to show off.
        Winning a Pulitzer is quite the accomplishment! I’d personally be more interested in the missile article though, but that’s pretty great. But just because you don’t win anything for it doesn’t mean it’s not awesome material. As long as you’re doing what you love and exposing what you think is important, I’d say that’s a real great accomplishment.

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