MIT and Harvard University Researchers Can Make 3-D Printers Print Objects By using Data Sets

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Researchers from MIT and Harvard University found a way to make 3-D printers use data sets to print objects instead of using geometric representations. The have just published their study on the site Science Advances, where the team described their technique and how it can be used.

3-D printers need a lot of improvements, as they print objects of a single color, and the quality is not that high. So, the team made an effort to improve these aspects. MIT researchers found a way to use data that describes an object and fed that data to the printer. The result was fascinating. It was like switching from a dot-matrix printer to a laser printer.

Traditionally, a 3-D printer gets a digital description of an object; it converts it to geometrical shapes and then it prints that object. The new technique will convert the data that describes that object to 3-D pixels called voxels. The printer will not print shapes, but it will print precise voxels, reaching a resolution of 2.3 million voxels per cubic centimeter.

It’s like taking data from an MRI machine and then converting it and printing it in detail. Each voxel, like all pixels, contains a color code that can be used to recreate the color of the object. The colors are created by mixing the commonly used colors – magenta, cyan, yellow and black, white and clear.

A New Kind of Art

The 3-D printed object will look almost like the original one. You can print a human heart or an artifact. Researchers explained that this technique could be used to create new objects on a computer in a 3-D modeling soft and then print them. To prove that it’s possible, they have designed some objects with many colors, and then 3-D printed them.

Science is cool, and now, it not only improved the technique of 3-D printing, but it also gave birth to a new form of art.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere