Get our free email newsletter

New Technique for 3D Printing Actuators, Sensors, and Hair

3d printed hair

Although today’s 3D printers are capable of some amazing things, researchers in MIT’s Media Lab are rethinking the technology and expanding its capabilities. They have found a way to bypass a time-intensive step in 3D printing so that hair-like structures can be printed. They have used their new technique to print “hairs” that can perform sensing, adhesion, and actuation.

We’re just trying to think how we can fully utilize the potential of 3-D printing, and create new functional materials whose properties are easily tunable and controllable.

Jifei Ou

The MIT team built a new software platform called “Cillia” that lets users define the angle, thickness, density, and height of thousands of hairs in just a few minutes. This would normally take hours to complete using conventional computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw out each strand. Then users would have to send their design through a slicer program that would translate the drawings into pixels for a printer. The thousands of hairs required to make anything useful would crash a typical slicing program.

- Partner Content -

Why Capacitance? Benefits & Applications of Digital Capacitive Solutions

In this paper, readers will discover digital capacitive displacement measurement solutions not possible with conventional analog systems. The following applications address a wide range of industry sectors. Each example demonstrates how digital capacitive sensing systems rival the performance of more expensive and complex measurement systems at a fraction of the cost

The researchers presented a paper detailing the results at the Association for Computing Machinery’s CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in May. They wrote, “The ability to fabricate customized hair-like structures not only expands the library of 3-D-printable shapes, but also enables us to design alternative actuators and sensors. 3-D-printed hair can be used for designing everyday interactive objects.”

Source: MIT | Image Courtesy of Tangible Media Group/MIT Media Lab

Related Articles

Digital Sponsors

Become a Sponsor

Discover new products, review technical whitepapers, read the latest compliance news, trending engineering news, and weekly recall alerts.

Get our email updates

What's New

- From Our Sponsors -

Sign up for the In Compliance Email Newsletter

Discover new products, review technical whitepapers, read the latest compliance news, trending engineering news, and weekly recall alerts.