It’s clear that we’re living in an era of mass disruption, where new technologies are making old ones obsolete. With Netflix destroying Blockbuster and Uber diminishing the livelihoods of taxi drivers worldwide, this truly is an era of change.
Perhaps the most disruptive technology of all is 3D printing. 3D printing has allowed for advancements and creative developments that were previously unimaginable: think 3D-printed organs and eco-friendly automotives. Each month, we are presented with innumerable impressive advancements: here, we share our favourite selection for July.
Concrete super bridge
Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have figured out a way to create a concrete bridge using 3D printing. This won’t be the first 3D printed bridge, or the first time that a 3D printing machine has been used to extrude concrete (check out this awesome concrete castle) - but it will be the first 3D printed, concrete-reinforced bridge.
Bridge construction will start in September, with the structure being based on a 1:2 scale model that can hold a 2,000kg load. Unlike conventional manufacturing, this process will require far less concrete being poured into molds: saving money and the planet, with reduced CO2 emissions. It’s great when a production methodology is both cost effective and environmentally friendly!
As we’ve covered in the past, 3D printing has been making a strong impact in the realm of medicine - particularly in prosthetics (both for animals and humans). In a recent heartwarming story, a girl from Argentina who was born without fingers on her left hand has recently received a 3D-printed prosthetic hand that allows her to draw, bake and explore on her bike.
We previously explored how 3D printing offers superior creativity and customisation when it comes to production: the printed prosthetic doesn’t disappoint - sporting vibrant red and blue hues.
3D-printing technology has delivered uniquely customized prosthetics to over 500 people around the world, with 4,000 still waiting to benefit from their own devices.
Affordable supersonic travel
Next year, Boom Supersonic hopes to unveil an aircraft so fast that it could potentially reduce the flight time from New York to London from seven hours to three. What’s more, the production of the aircraft is going to be assisted by 3D-printed parts - courtesy of Stratasys.
The rapid production of cheaper, lighter composite materials means that the Boom XB-1 will be far more efficient than Concorde, which retired from action 14 years ago. Although there are still problems with the noise profile of supersonic aircraft when flying over populated areas (this prevented Concorde from being more successful) - a solution to this problem is being sought before the Boom XB-1 hits the market.
What comes next?
Colourful prosthetics, supersonic travel and are just some of the colourful 3D-printed designs we’ve seen this July.