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Designers Use 3D Printing for Beautiful Prosthetics and Space Food

Businessmen and researchers continue advancing the boundaries of 3D printing.

Scott Summit, founder of Bespoke Innovations, asks us to “wonder what would happen if an industrial designer had a go at making prosthetic legs, things that are beautiful [and] . . . don’t neglect the esthetics.” Summit’s company makes fairings, “specialized coverings that surround an existing prosthetic leg.” One type of fairing, for example, enables soccer players to control the ball as they could with a natural leg.

Summit indicates his background and passion:

My background is originally from a machine shop; I like making stuff with my hands. And also I have a degree in industrial design, so my love is really making beautiful products of all kinds.

Not surprisingly, given his devotion to beautiful design, Summit once worked at Apple: “Once you go through the Apple world . . . from that day forward, you really can’t do anything that you’re not absolutely, obsessively proud of.”

So 3D printers can handle prosthetic limbs, but what about pizza? Anjan Contractor, a mechanical engineer and founder of Systems & Materials Research Corporation, is working on 3D food printing for NASA. International Science Times explains,

Contractor’s 3D food printer prototype is based on the open-source RepRap printer. In a similar spirit, Contractor will make his software open-source as well. The software will include “recipes” that tell the 3D printer how to mix powdered and liquid ingredients, and in which order to print the food layers.

Although I doubt such technology will replace much conventional food preparation anytime soon, it could soon play an important role in specialized applications from feeding astronauts to designing intricate wedding cakes. As for its long-term potential, causality is the limit.

Congratulations to Summit for producing beautiful and practical fairings, and best wishes to Contractor as he seeks to advance 3D food printing. These types of advances will continue to make the world a better, more interesting, more beautiful, and more productive place to live.

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Creative Commons Image: Phil Whitehouse

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