A lot of potential for 3D printed electronics in the automotive field

3D printing is affecting the way engineers design in the automotive industry. The technology is already used in the industry, currently mostly for plastic and metal spare parts. Additive manufacturing has opened the door for newer designs, safer products, shorter lead times and lower costs. Moreover, it will be an enabler for the automotive industry to adapt towards the new smart mobility requirements.

Continue reading “A lot of potential for 3D printed electronics in the automotive field”

Highly conductive 3D printable gallium alloy shows promise for flexible electronics

3D printable gallium alloy

Researchers in Oregon State University’s College of Engineering have taken a key step toward the rapid manufacture of flexible computer screens and other stretchable electronic devices, including soft robots.

The advance by a team within the college’s Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute paves the way toward the 3D printing of tall, complicated structures with a highly conductive gallium alloy.

Researchers put nickel nanoparticles into the liquid metal, galinstan, to thicken it into a paste with a consistency suitable for additive manufacturing.

“The runny alloy was impossible to layer into tall structures,” said Yiğit Mengüç, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and co-corresponding author on the study. “With the paste-like texture, it can be layered while maintaining its capacity to flow, and to stretch inside of rubber tubes. We demonstrated the potential of our discovery by 3D printing a very stretchy two-layered circuit whose layers weave in and out of each other without touching.”

Findings were recently published in Advanced Materials Technologies. Continue reading “Highly conductive 3D printable gallium alloy shows promise for flexible electronics”

Is 3D Printing living tattoos the future of electronics?

3D Printing living tattoos

Wearable tech is the name given to smart electronic devices that can be worn or implanted in the body. An enticing opportunity for innovative tech developers in sports, health, fashion and entertainment, 3D printing is revealing new possibilities for wearable tech such as electronic second skins, and smart fabrics.

In the latest research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a team has developed a “living” 3D printer bio-ink that’s not only smart but could change the way we think about technology altogether. Harnessing natural reactions of bacteria, responsive devices made using this smart ink represent the basic build blocks of electricity-free wearable tech.

Made by members of the same team that made the soft-robotic, fish-catching glove, this 3D printable bio-ink adds to an extensive portfolio of smart materials in development at MIT. Continue reading “Is 3D Printing living tattoos the future of electronics?”

Research team develops entirely textile-based, bacteria-powered biobattery

bacteria-powered biobattery

A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York has developed an entirely textile-based, bacteria-powered biobattery that could one day be integrated into wearable electronics.

The team, led by Binghamton University Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi, created an entirely textile-based biobattery that can produce maximum power similar to that produced by his previous paper-based microbial fuel cells. Additionally, these textile-based biobatteries exhibit stable electricity-generating capability when tested under repeated stretching and twisting cycles.

Choi said that this stretchable, twistable power device could establish a standardized platform for textile-based biobatteries and will be potentially integrated into wearable electronics in the future. Continue reading “Research team develops entirely textile-based, bacteria-powered biobattery”

New Hybrid 3D Printing of Soft Electronics developed by Harvard Researchers (Video)

3D Printing Soft Electronics

New Hybrid 3D Printing of Soft Electronics developed by Harvard Researchers

Human skin must flex and stretch to accommodate the body’s every move. Anything worn tight on the body must also be able to flex around muscles and joints, which helps explain why synthetic fabrics like spandex are popular in activewear. Wearable electronic devices that aim to track and measure the body’s movements must possess similar properties, yet integrating rigid electrical components on or within skin-mimicking matrix materials has proven to be challenging. Such components cannot stretch and dissipate forces like soft materials can, and this mismatch in flexibility concentrates stress at the junction between the hard and soft elements, frequently causing wearable devices to fail. Continue reading “New Hybrid 3D Printing of Soft Electronics developed by Harvard Researchers (Video)”

Fraunhofer ILT’s LaserTAB Combines Welding, 3D Printing and Robotics

Fraunhofer ILT’s LaserTAB

Fraunhofer ILT’s LaserTAB Combines Welding, 3D Printing and Robotics

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed itself. In focus is a new light-weight robot (LBR is German for lightweight robot) developed by Kuka Roboter GmbH from Augsburg. According to company statements, not only is the LBR iiwa, or “intelligent industrial work assistant (iiwa)”, the first sensitive robot to be manufactured in series, but it also helps man and robot work closely together. Continue reading “Fraunhofer ILT’s LaserTAB Combines Welding, 3D Printing and Robotics”

We need to understand at microscopic level what is happening during the printing process – Interview with 3D Printing Electronics Conference speaker Wijnand Germs

Wijnand Germs

We need to understand at microscopic level what is happening during the printing process – Interview with 3D Printing Electronics Conference speaker Wijnand Germs

As Project Manager with the Dutch research institute TNO Wijnand Germs specializes in the integration of electronics in 3D printing, also called ‘structural electronics’. He and his colleagues are developing a 3D printer that will eventually be able to manufacture high-quality products with the electronics already in place. That’s a major step forward from the current 3D printers, which are mainly used for prototyping. Continue reading “We need to understand at microscopic level what is happening during the printing process – Interview with 3D Printing Electronics Conference speaker Wijnand Germs”

3D Printing Electronics on a Sticker (Video)

Printing Electronics

3D Printing Electronics on a Sticker– the application of printing technologies for the fabrication of electronic circuits and devices, increasingly on flexible plastic or paper substrates – have been around for a while. Printed electronics has its origins in conductive patterns printed as part of conventional electronics, forming flexible keyboards, antennas and so on. Then came fully printed testers on batteries, electronic skin patches and other devices made entirely by printing, including batteries and displays Continue reading “3D Printing Electronics on a Sticker (Video)”

Researchers develop magnetic ink that allows self-healing 3D printed electronics (Video)

magnetic ink

Researchers develop magnetic ink that allows self-healing 3D printed electronics. A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego has developed a magnetic ink that can be used to make self-healing batteries, electrochemical sensors and wearable, textile-based electrical circuits. Continue reading “Researchers develop magnetic ink that allows self-healing 3D printed electronics (Video)”