National Maker Faire in Washington Goes Far Beyond 3D Printing

1 - National Maker Faire in Washington Goes Far Beyond 3D Printing
2 - HP Shows Off Its New Sprout 3D Workstation
3 - Handibot Routers the Opposite of 3D Printing
4 - Where the IoT Makes More of Its Own
5 - Making the Ephemeral Real
6 - Taking Wearable Technology to a New Level
7 - LEDs Add Flare to Tattoos
8 - Another Approach to Prototyping
9 - A New Kind of Computer Virus
10 - Drawing on Experience
11 - RhinoHawk Is More Than Just Another Drone
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National Maker Faire in Washington Goes Far Beyond 3D Printing

by Wayne Rash

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HP Shows Off Its New Sprout 3D Workstation

While many applications in the Maker world are decidedly home-brew efforts, not all of them are. Hewlett-Packard is an early entry with the HP Sprout creative workstation. And, yes, next to the computer is the latest thing in Dremel Tools. HP has chosen Dremel's 3D printer to be part of the package. In addition, there's a 3D scanner mounted above the monitor.

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Handibot Routers the Opposite of 3D Printing

Sometimes you need to remove material to create the object you want, which is the idea behind the Handibot, a 3D router that can work from a scanned image or from a digital file, and then carve out the item that you want, such as the pineapple finial or the restroom sign here. Technically, this is a CNC (computerized numerical control) device that has evolved from decades of numerical control manufacturing machines. Now, it competes in the Maker space. This device can work in any orientation, so it can do things like carve signs in your walls.

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Where the IoT Makes More of Its Own

The Protovoltaics pick-and-place machine uses 3D printer technology to control a machine that selects components from spools and places them on a surface-mount printed-circuit board. This machine is designed for small-scale production, and it can produce about 1,000 units per day. This makes it ideal for prototyping and for projects where the volume doesn't justify a massive producer, such as contract mobile phone manufacturer Foxconn, which is too big for manual production.

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Making the Ephemeral Real

Just because something doesn't have physical existence doesn't mean you can't print it. Here, Elisabeth Pellathy of the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that you can create a solid image of something as fleeting and beautiful as a bird song. Unfortunately, there's not currently a means of turning the physical representation back into the song.

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Taking Wearable Technology to a New Level

Jung-Lin Lee, a student at the University of California at Berkeley, prepares fellow student Joanne Lo for the next frontier in wearable electronics, which in this case is a wearable electronic temporary tattoo.

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LEDs Add Flare to Tattoos

The application of the tattoo finished, tattooist Lee powers up Lo's wearable design. Those white and yellow lights shining from Lo's back are embedded LEDs powered by the cords dangling from the tattoo. The tattoo is actually printed on a very thin plastic, the LEDs are attached to the plastic, and the whole thing applied to Lo's back where it sticks until she gets tired of it.

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Another Approach to Prototyping

Robotic manufacturing machines designed for small-scale production can dramatically lower the cost of innovation. Creating machines that can do that with commercially available off-the-shelf parts lowers it even more. That's the idea behind the Chip Flick, which uses Maker technology derived from 3D printing to produce electronics components.

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A New Kind of Computer Virus

These are 3D printing models that are part of the National Institutes of Health 3D Print Exchange. The idea here is to provide 3D models of proteins and viruses for research into cures. The brown, green and yellow blob near the center of the photo is a model of a protein, while the blue and yellow ball next to it is a model of a virus. The blue spots on the protein are receptors to which the virus can attach. To cure a disease, you just make those receptors unavailable.

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Drawing on Experience

For some of us, sketching out an idea is a challenge, but now there's help for that. These drawing robots, built by the D.C. Robotics Group, an informal community organization, can create drawings from JPEG files. Here, you can see two of those projects at work.

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RhinoHawk Is More Than Just Another Drone

These days, you can't have any kind of a technology event without having at least a few drones, but these are drones with a difference. The RhinoHawk drone is designed to fly quietly above the South African bush and keep an eye out for poachers who attack and kill endangered black rhinos. Nova Labs, located in Reston, Va., outside Washington, D.C., is competing to produce the drones that South African conservationists can use to track rhinos and catch poachers in the act. The RhinoHawk can launch vertically and then loiter for hours.

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