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3D Printing a 'Terminator' Arm ... Or a Whole Body

timothy posted 1 year,8 days | from the one-hand-behind-your-back dept.

Robotics 29

Nerval's Lobster writes "One of the 600 3D-printed objects on display at a new London Science Museum exhibit is a Terminator-lookalike prosthetic arm designed by a 3D printing research group at the University of Nottingham, to demonstrate how printers can create both strong structural pieces, multi-directional joints and electronics to power touch sensors as part of a single process. "It's a mock-up but it shows circuits that sense temperature, feel objects and control the arm's movement," according to Richard Hague, director of the university's Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group. The design is a step up in complexity from Robohand, an open-source engineering project launched in 2011 to design printable prostheses for those who have lost fingers or hands. The project posted many of its designs, including a full set of anatomically driven mechanical fingers, online for free download. Other manufacturers are exploring how robotics can best intersect with the human body and its need for replacement parts: pieces from 17 manufacturers went into "The Incredible Bionic Man," a full-body robotic prostheses assembled from artificial organs, limbs and other parts to demonstrate the current state-of-the-art for a Smithsonian Channel documentary due to air Oct. 20. The robot is 6'7, and able to stand and take a step with assistance; it contains a functioning heart, kidney, arms, legs, eyes and other parts. It also has a prosthetic, mobile face designed as a replacement for people who have lost noses or other features to accidents or disease."

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butb does it watrtfv moyrtyviues? (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | 1 year,8 days | (#45107359)

It iser impomjxcvomplete. Andrthj secxciy mad poiuytssy yoiuyr vasgiknas!!!

Re: butb does it watrtfv moyrtyviues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45107437)

Damn toy autocorrect!

Slight problem (3, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,8 days | (#45107389)

The problem with web design is the really talented artists have no technical skills and the technical designers have little artistic ability. Welcome to 3D design of prosthetic limbs like noses and fingers, as the article mentioned. You think a doctor can sculpt a realistic nose in a 3D design software. Hell no! You think a graphics artist can make it medically perfect and attach it? Hell no. So this is not nearly as smooth as the article makes it seem.

Re:Slight problem (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,8 days | (#45107429)

...that's actually not that much of a probem. sculptors are pretty good. doesn't matter if they're only good with clay either.

there's bigger problems though. like that journalists print stuff like " contains a functioning heart, kidney, arms, legs, eyes and other parts. ". so great we can just do artificial parts of all those right? well fuck no, we can't. artificial being a key word here - better wording would be "mock up". because that's what those parts on the bionic man is.

Re:Slight problem (1)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,8 days | (#45107453)

contains a functioning heart, kidney

Actually "flying cars" hype journalism aside there is a lot of work going on with printing of biological materials, I recall something about nerve cells at the University of Newcastle (Australia) last year. Functioning human organs may not be that far away.
Also, with more conventional plastic 3D printing, I think it was in 2002 that I saw a 3D printed model skull that was used by a plastic surgeon to plan a skull reconstruction of greatly deformed child (about 1/4 of his skull had to be cut away and many pieces tiled over the hole to regrow). The data was from a CT scan and a laser in a tank of resin built up the model. I'm not sure what year the successful operation was carried out but it was some time before I saw the model and the after photos.

Re:Slight problem (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,8 days | (#45107865)

yes a lot has gone into it which is why claiming that their model has an actual functioning kidney is even worse! many people might think that they actually can get that then.. it would be awesome if they actually had functioning eyes, heart etc(which is why it's in the summary and article. because it would be awsome).

titanium printed parts have been used alot, pourous so bone builds on them. but that is a long, long way from functional vital organs.

Re:Slight problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45108483)

Do you have any data to support that titanium printed parts have been used "alot"? (Which is two words BTW, you don't write "alittle", do you?)

Re:Slight problem (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | 1 year,8 days | (#45107941)

The biggest advantage that could be achieved in 3D printing is the self replicating printer. That would seem to be the best focus for a first design.
There are many ways to achieve that goal and I have tested several methods that can be integrated in a single device. The challenges include working directly to metals, printed electronics, precision and speed. These are all attainable goals and it seems that the hype goes more to what can be done to monetize and control the industry of 3D printers.
There is no doubt that other things can be done when the proper framework is created. It seems that the technology is at that threshold similar to the first integrated circuits on a chip and a complete microprocessor. The real progress comes when the device can successfully duplicate itself. It would be the Cambrian explosion of the personal industrial revolution.
It presents many new problems for society as a whole because it short circuits the consumer pathway from manufacturing to sale. The actual cost of products drops radically when you cut out several layers of middle men. There is no doubt that it will eventually happen. There is also no doubt that the existing economic and political structure will vehemently oppose such a process.

Re:Slight problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45108351)

Yes, the most complicated and impossible we do first, right?

"These are all attainable goals

Wow, really?

"because it short circuits the consumer pathway from manufacturing to sale."

Oh yes yes, I imagine it will be a labor-free utopia after that. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, the leisure society! Instead, we now have a society where we're SURROUNDED by technology and resources, but somehow both people of a couple need to "work" now. What a paradise!

Re:Slight problem (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | 1 year,8 days | (#45108477)

Oh yes yes, I imagine it will be a labor-free utopia after that. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, the leisure society! Instead, we now have a society where we're SURROUNDED by technology and resources, but somehow both people of a couple need to "work" now. What a paradise!

The problem with your argument is that you assume that I am doing it for you. "Wow really" is certainly a compelling argument but I have advanced technology that absolutely proves "Oh, yeah?". Complicated and impossible is nonsense. if [ N && !N ]. I hope you don't write shell scripts for somebody.

Re:Slight problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45109863)

Well, that was a convincing argument. You write software, therefore anything is possible. One hopes that a few more decades of reality will eventually teach you a thing or two. The material world is entirely unlike the software world. I hope you don't build things for somebody.

Re:Slight problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45107649)

Holy generalizations Batman!

This line in the sand you describe is practically imaginary. 80% of the knowledge comes from 20% of the effort so the dichotomy of specialization is way overblown. At my workplace every engineer has a job title like mechanical, electrical, or computer. But those are only specializations within the broader category of "engineer" which by no means excludes painting, medicine, computer science, or designing PCBs just because their business card calls them "Mechanical".

Artistic design talent will frequently express itself in more pragmatic medias/careers than just "pure art" and most any onsumer product which is considered to be desirable is an example of this working out well..

Some artists take pictures, some artists paint. Some artists write code, design airplanes, or do breast augmentations. My day job is CAD / solidworks & I'm damned good at it. But when I go home I work on 3D printed components.

I would attribute the lack of energy in this field to the diminished capaility to design and build prosthetics/augs caused by the same problems which create demand for these products. The people who need them can't make them for themselves, and that is what people are trying to change. My observation has been that it is frequently family members that can't just "turn it off" when they go home who see an opportunity to assist someone with a disability they care about. When these family members are already engineers by trade we may hear success stories only because they had the talent to pull it off.

Re: Slight problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45108033)

Not true. If the design is a true reproduction if a biological structure, the work is done by nature.

If only it was that simple. (1)

westlake (615356) | 1 year,8 days | (#45108919)

if a biological structure, the work is done by nature

Nature makes mistakes.

It cannot foresee every complication.

Prosthetics have to be both aesthetically and functionally part of your patient's body, meeting its unique requirements.

Damaged organs affect the performance of other organs --- you need to look at the system as a whole and find solutions that nature doesn't provide.

Re:Slight problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45110421)

The 3D printing mania is pretty over the top. Something like this would make more sense from a subtractive printer. You know CAD/CAM, but that was the sexy buzz 20 years ago. Now it's boring. So we get silly stuff with 3D printers instead. Lots of people already contain titanium bone replacements created by computer controlled machine removing material from a block of titanium. Today's 3D printers can do nothing like that. Not even close, but for some reason, they're all the buzz today.

printing gorillas (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45107427)

i would like a robotic gorilla and be locked in the cage wearing a gorilla suit and at one moment i will gasp and my eyes will freeze wide open

this will continue until i am tired and my gorilla friend is satisfied

It's Kraftwerk Man! (1)

tinkerton (199273) | 1 year,8 days | (#45107567)

It's a nerdy looking robot, and does Terminator look nerdy?
I think not!

But can it 3D print (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45107569)

a Republic with liberty and justice for all? There's a nation under God over here that could use some replacement parts.

Where's the CAD/CAM Files? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45107571)

Cant find them...

This just in - 3D Printers can make stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45107599)

Have we had enough of these stories already?

OK, designs can be shared and manufactured anywhere you have a printer which is a good thing, but apart frpm avaliability and cost I don't see how this is so amazingly different from things such as computer controlled lathes and welding which have been around for decades.

Re:This just in - 3D Printers can make stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45108365)

It's so that uncritical and naive nerds can make "predictions" based on nothing more than sci-fi fantasies like []

Where are the hipster glasses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45107745)

Oh, second link has them. Wow, called it.

Fab@Home (2)

Phoenix666 (184391) | 1 year,8 days | (#45108299)

Fab@Home's approach makes more sense to me: have multiple attachments that can extrude a variety of materials. So you have one set of nozzles that print the circuits and another that prints the structural components. Layer-by-layer deposition that's used now would probably not survive because of the different amounts of contraction as different materials cool, or the possibility that the deposition of a metallic material would re-melt structural material and distort it.

Rate of printing is also a limiting factor now, but at least one of the models I saw at the Maker Faire in NYC a couple weeks ago was addressing that problem by having multiple nozzles. But give it time. We're in the very, very early days yet. 6 years ago Bre Pettis, the founder of MakerBot, was teaching public school in Brooklyn. We're only a couple years past when the first model hit the market, and with the rate of evolution we've seen so far it won't be long at all before the whole world has changed.

Re:Fab@Home (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45108419)

Yes, Roland didn't sell the Modela in the 1990s, it was all a dream. It's Bre Pettis that invented 3D printing. Oh boy.

Re:Fab@Home (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | 1 year,8 days | (#45110299)

Yes and computers existed before the Apple IIe. But it was Apple that made computers a household item. So pointing out, hey, ENIAC pre-dated Apple so they're no big deal misses the point in the same way you're missing it.

MakerBot did not invent 3D printing, but they are popularizing it by making it affordable enough for mass adoption. What we're looking at right now is the Apple IIe of 3D printers.

60-70% of what a human does? Not! (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,8 days | (#45108355)

I'd argue that missing a brain is missing an effing whole lot more than just 30-40% of what makes us human.

Re:60-70% of what a human does? Not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#45108389)

Let's see, eat... sleep... shit... fuck... I guess that covers most of what humans do, and this thing doesn't do any of it.

Oh dear. (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | 1 year,8 days | (#45108449)

I for one welcome our 3d printed overlords.

See it somewhere else first (1)

EdZ (755139) | 1 year,8 days | (#45108643)

the Smithsonian Channel original documentary, "The Incredible Bionic Man."

Not original at all. If you want to see the what's likely the entire program before it airs on Smithsonian, it's almost certainly a dubbed over and slightly recut version of the Channel 4 documentary How to Build a Bionic Man [] . Same presenter, same robot, aired back in February. UK viewers (or those with a UK proxy) can watch it on 4od [] , those outside the UK can likely fine a torrent with ease.

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