Podcast: The Man Who Sold the Moon

After a two year hiatus, I've restarted my podcast! It's my New Year's resolution. Read the rest

Some of 2017's most beautiful and striking objects

Rain Nos roundup of the Core 77's Favorite Objects from 2017 has some real beauts that are of note to aficionados of physical culture and made objects. Read the rest

3D printed Wi-Fi devices without electronics

University of Washington researchers 3D printed mechanical sensors and switches from standard plastic filament that can send data to Wi-Fi devices without using any electronics. As the engineers explain in this video, the plastic devices either reflect or absorb the ambient Wi-Fi signals and that effect is translated into a signal of zero or one. From the Printed Wi-Fi research page:

Specifically, we introduce the first computational designs that 1) send data to commercial RF receivers including Wi-Fi, enabling 3D printed wireless sensors and input widgets, and 2) embed data within objects using magnetic fields and decode the data using magnetometers on commodity smartphones. To demonstrate the potential of our techniques, we design the first fully 3D printed wireless sensors including a weight scale, flow sensor and anemometer that can transmit sensor data. Furthermore, we 3D print eyeglass frames, armbands as well as artistic models with embedded magnetic data. Finally, we present various 3D printed application prototypes including buttons, smart sliders and physical knobs that wirelessly control music volume and lights as well as smart bottles that can sense liquid flow and send data to nearby RF devices, without batteries or electronics.

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3D printing bacteria to clean up toxic chemicals or make band-aids that heal

ETH Zurich researchers developed a "living ink" for 3D printers that's made from bacteria, nutrients, and a polymer gel. In a small scale demonstration, they printed a small 3D lattice of the material that cleaned up a beaker of contaminated water. From Science News:

Lattices packing various types of chemical-hungry bacteria could create special water filters or help clean up oil spills. And unlike free-floating bacteria, cells locked in a 3-D grid could be plucked out of cleaned-up water and reused somewhere else....

Bacteria-filled 3-D prints could also produce bacterial cellulose — a gelatinous substance used for dressing wounds. Bacterial cellulose is typically grown in sheets, but “imagine if you have a burn on your elbow,” (materials scientist Manuel) Schaffner says. “You try to wrap flat, wet tissue around this area, it’s prone to detach.” Swathes of cellulose grown on 3-D printed structures could precisely match the contours of specific body parts, curbing the risk of contaminants getting trapped under wrinkles in the cellulose or the material peeling off.

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Doublehand: a robotic pair of hands you control with two fingers

Federico Ciccarese's €1800, 3D-printed Doublehand from Youbionic is a "wearable robotic device" that lets you control two hands using two fingers. (via Oh Gizmo) Read the rest

One week after release, iPhone X's Face ID reportedly defeated by a $150 mask

The Vietnamese security company Bkav says that a prototype mask costing $150 can reliably defeat Apple's Face ID authentication system. However, the company (which has a good track record for defeating facial recognition systems) has not released technical details for the defeat and says that it was able to accomplish the task "Because... we are the leading cyber security firm ;)." Read the rest

New methods can 3D print high-strength aluminum alloys

Unweldable materials like aluminum alloys can now be fused using additive manufacture techniques. HRL Laboratories did this interesting demonstration. Read the rest

The MNT Reform: a modular, open source hardware, blob-free laptop inspired by classic PCs

Lukas F. Hartmann grew up on PCs like the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amiga 500, and while he appreciates the power and portability of modern laptops, he missed the character and invitation of experiment in these classic PCs. Read the rest

Why Adafruit thinks it's legal to stamp Harriet Tubman over Andrew Jackson on the US $20

Adafruit greeted the news that Trump Treasure Secretary Steve Mnuchin had cancelled the plan to make the great hero Harriet Tubman the first African-American and the first woman on US currency with a video and tutorial for 3D printing a Harriet Tubman stamp that you could use to blot out the genocidal racist scoundrel Andrew Jackson on your money. Read the rest

A parametric model to 3D print housekeys from photos

It's been nearly a decade since the first proof-of-concept demos showing that keys could be reproduced on 3D printers from distant, angled photos surfaced, and six years since the first parametric Openscad models that could turn easy key-measurements into working house-keys appeared. Read the rest

3D printed electronics that fold themselves into "origami" shapes as they cool

MIT and Amherst material science researchers have published a paper in ACS Applied Material & Interfaces that describes an untouched-by-human-hands method for making self-folding circuits with a 3D printer; the materials are laid down precisely so that as it cools, differential rates of contraction cause it to bend into dimensional forms that are ready for use in a finished device. Read the rest

Embrace chaos by making your own double pendulum fidget spinner

If the novelty of holding an elaborate bearing (possibly connected to some motion-sensitive LEDs) is wearing thin, have no fear: with a 3D printer and a little ingenuity, you can make your own double-pendulum fidget spinner, a chaotic system that is intensely sensitive to initial conditions, such that it becomes very hard to predict the motion of the pendulum when you set it to swinging. Read the rest

Kickstarting a Bondic, handheld UV-curing plastic "3D printer"

I first tried Bondic in 2015, when I ordered a tube of the UV-curing plastic and started using it to fix everything -- especially irregularly-fractured items with hard-to-fill gaps. Read the rest

Third Thumb: an opposable prosthetic enhancement

Designer Dani Clode's Third Thumb is a 3D printed robotic prosthetic thumb that goes on the pinky side of your hand, created a motorized, opposable additional thumb that you can use to play the guitar, pick up objects, or crack an egg. Read the rest

3D print your own Haunted Mansion sign

On Thingiverse, Gentlegiant's beautiful, faithful model of the Haunted Mansion front-gate sign to 3D print at any size or remix into your other designs. Read the rest

Trippy 3D-printed spheres that help conceptualize 4D

Henry Segerman takes a brisk stroll through the world of four-dimensional objects with some really cool 3D-printed sculptures, like this sphere that projects a square grid when lit: Read the rest

3D-printed garment with motion-detecting LED lighting

Benhaz Farahi continues to experient at the intersection of technology and fashion, this time with Bodyscape, a sculpted form that's underlit with LEDs. As the wearer moves, the lights shift around the garment. Read the rest

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