Lots of news emerged at the second 3D Printed Electronics conference on January 20th 2015. We discussed the trends with three of the keynote speakers, gaining insights as to why this sector is growing so quickly. Part two: the interview with Janos Veres of Palo Alto Research Center.
Space Confetti – Now there’s a disruptive idea!
Janos Veres, from the electronic materials laboratory at PARC research center in Palo Alto also gave a keynote at the conference. He’s been a regular visitor to High Tech Campus Eindhoven for several years, as PARC is also a leading centre practicing open innovation.
“Despite the media hype, it is true that 3D printing is emerging as a very useful technology that helps rapid prototyping before large scale manufacturing” explains Janos. “What we’re trying to do at our centre in California is to print more complicated, potentially useful objects. We’re looking at new types of intelligent inks that can add functionality, going well beyond the metal and plastics that are used in current generations of 3D printers”.
“Suppose you add materials that can be used to print a sensor or a transistor, how does this make new smart devices that can’t otherwise be made? It turns out that all kinds of new avenues are possible. Our colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are even talking about developing “Space Confetti”. Imagine if a network of sensors were printed onto a lightweight foil, they would flutter down to a planet’s surface and form an ad-hoc network when they arrived. It could be an alternative to constructing a landing craft for Mars”.
“Meanwhile, back on Earth, we’re also looking at the next stage for wearables. One of the projects is a 3D printed mouth-guard in a project funded by the US Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium. One of their members, the US Air Force, is interested in monitoring real-time stress levels in aircraft pilots during flight.”
Written by Jonathan Marks