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    Discussion in 'Prototyping & low-volume processes' started by GoodCat, Dec 14, 2018.

    1. GoodCat

      GoodCat Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      I am a supporter of new technologies and I believe that the classic technology of manufacturing products is morally obsolete. Must agree at the moment it is cheaper than innovative production technologies, but if humanity didn’t develop everything new, we would have cared to remain cavemen

      The last time I study a lot on the technology of 3d printing and I think that this is the future of the industry, with time this technology becomes cheaper and will soon replace the classical production technologies.

      Recently I read an interesting article and decided to study it in more detail. I think it will be interesting to many.


      4D printing: new materials, changing characteristics and shape

      Usually, 4D means four-dimensional space in which four-dimensional objects exist - tesseract, icositrachor (has no analogues in the three-dimensional world) and the like. Several years ago, the term 4D began to be used to denote a special technology of printing objects that change their characteristics over time. Thus, in 4D printing, the “fourth” is not a dimension, but a parameter with which the position (possibly, as a function of the object) of the object is connected.

      Technology 4D-printer can hardly be called revolutionary in comparison with conventional 3D printing - the object is also created layer by layer. The most interesting thing happens later, when the finished object begins to change. And here it all depends on what material is used in the printer. Special materials change under the influence of water, heat, light, mechanical impact, and can also be programmed to certain actions.

      Let's see why we need 4D printing and what the world looks like, built on the basis of things that change their shape and behavior.
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      Future cars 2.jpg

      Last year, BMW presented what the cars of the future will look like. The concept was not without the use of 4D. As planned by the engineers, the car body consists of moving triangular sections printed on a 4D printer. Such parts will have integrated functionality, which is now achieved by the production of different parts and the assembly of one mechanism from them.

      Due to the use of special materials, similar in characteristics to carbon fiber, each section will have programmed functions from the moment of production. For example, most of the coverage will be serviced wheel niches created for better aerodynamics. During the turn, the triangular sections are stretched and the tires do not rub against the arches.

      A visual demonstration of the possibilities of the concept car, created with the help of four-dimensional printing:


      Reshaping upon contact with water

      A team of scientists at Harvard University drew attention to plants that react and change their shape in response to environmental stimuli. Hydrogel composite structures have been developed that change shape when immersed in water.

      3.jpg

      The object in the form of an orchid flower was printed with hydrogel composite ink containing specifically directed cellulose fibers. To give wood fibers the right direction, they were mixed with acrylamide hydrogel. When immersed in water, the resulting substance changes its geometric dimensions in a predetermined way.

      Composite ink can produce products of different shapes. Moreover, it is possible to change the composition of the material to obtain certain properties, for example, electrical conductivity or biocompatibility.

      Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Self-Assembly Lab have developed a 2D template that, when immersed in water, stacks into a cube. To print Self-Assembly Lab, use the Stratasys Objet260 Connex1 printer, which allows you to work with various materials (including rubber-like and polypropylene).

      The laboratory has created many different products that can independently take the desired shape or self-assemble. They showed the laces that will lace themselves and pieces of furniture that are laid out on their own.


      Space protection

      4.jpg

      Using 4D printing, NASA engineers created a metallic fabric to protect satellites from damage and radiation, as well as to produce flexible antennas. The fabric is a kind of "chain mail", created from pieces of silver and other metals. The material can be repeatedly bent, unbend, stretch and compress. Each side of the fabric has its own properties, reflects or absorbs light and heat. Despite its flexibility, the fabric is extremely difficult to tear. It is planned that satellites will be packed into protective material before they are launched into space, or they will be used to shield spacesuits and habitable modules.


      Military technology

      5.jpg

      The International Nanotechnology Institute at Northwestern University received a five-year grant from the US Department of Defense to develop a 4D printer. The four-dimensional printer will be used for research in the field of chemistry, materials science and in the areas related to defense. It is assumed that 4D printing will allow the creation of new chemical and biological sensors, designs and materials for microchips.

      Currently, progress is hampered by the lack of low-cost equipment capable of printing with ultra-high resolution (about 1000 times less than the thickness of a human hair) made of hard materials (metals and semiconductors) and soft materials (for example, organic).


      Shape memory

      7.jpg

      Back in 2013, researchers at the University of Colorado developed a 4D printing technique, incorporating polymer fibers with a “shape memory effect” into composite materials used in traditional 3D printing. As examples of the application of technology were called solar panels, able to fold and unfold for transportation, automotive coatings that adapt to the environment, as well as military uniforms, changing the type of camouflage or more effectively protect against gas or fragments.

      Three years later, an integrated group of scientists from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, MIT and the Georgia Institute of Technology, developed a new 4D printing method based on the effect of light on photosensitive materials. The new method of printing is able to create elements as thick as human hair.

      8.jpg

      A solution of a photosensitive polymer was poured into the printer and the desired object was projected layer by layer, processing the material with ultraviolet light. To verify that the polymer is able to recover from deformations, the researchers printed a soft manipulator, which is closed in the free state. With it, scientists were able to successfully capture small objects (such as screws).

      Already at this stage, this technology can be adapted for real use - for example, to create capsules that release substances with increasing body temperature.


      Printing in medicine

      9.jpg

      Doctors from Shaanxi Province in northwestern China performed a successful and rare tracheal operation using four-dimensional printing technology. Doctors inserted a tubular tracheal stent into the patient to keep the airways open. The biomaterial polycaprolactone, which dissolves with time, was used for the production of the stent - biodegradation in the human body occurs slowly, about 3 years. The doctors determined in advance the time of dissolution of the printed stent, and the patient will not need to undergo another surgery to remove it.

      A similar case occurred in the United States. Garrett Peterson was born with a malformation of the bronchi - bronchomalacia, when the cartilage is not solid enough. Ventilation of the bronchus was impaired, and the child spent his whole life at the University of Utah hospital on artificial ventilation supporting life.

      Meanwhile, the University of Michigan developed a three-dimensional printing tire that could eventually collapse inside the body without any consequences, but at the same time could keep the airways open for two to three years - enough to restore bronchial cartilage.

      After creating the virtual model, the printer prints the layers of polycaprolactone in the form of a specific trachea. Although the process of creating individual stents may seem difficult, it takes only one day.

      It is likely that 4D biomaterials will sooner or later go far beyond respiratory diseases. Already studied the problems of facial reconstruction and restoration of the ears.

      In general, the majority of scientists working in the field of four-dimensional printing, predict the explosive growth of objects and materials of four-dimensional printing in the next five years.
       
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    3. john12

      john12 Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      That's pretty cool. I recently saw a few similar examples - one where they were 'growing' new heart valves, using a valve from the heart of a pig as a frame but using special protein cells that took on this frame and grew into a substance that the human body wouldn't reject after transplant.
      One interesting part was that they had to 'train' the valve to work in a certain way as they grew it, using electric pulses and by stretching it in certain ways.

      I also saw some glasses that could be scrunched up under certain conditions, but then would unfold perfectly for wearing.

      Personally (not exactly the same thing but very roughly related) I'm trying to create some 'living hinges' via 3D printing, for a job, but struggling to get similar material properties to moulded plastic. Maybe this can help me out in the future.
       
    4. tmark938

      tmark938 Moderator EngineeringClicks Expert

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      If you want to see something amazing, check this YouTube video. It is a company called C4X Discovery which is able to remix old drugs to make them more potent and extend their life/use. However, that is not the bit which caught my eye!

      They have a system which replicates molecules in 3D and allows scientists to move into a virtual reality world where they can pick molecules up and see how compatible they are with drugs and other molecules. Hard to explain but you will be amazed!



      Check out the video at 2minutes 45 seconds which is where this 3d virtual world system is covered. Staggering!
       
    5. john12

      john12 Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      It's interesting that even this process of drug development is broken down into more smaller specialist sections now.
      It's just incredible the things we can do these days!

      I'd like to see what big data can bring to them too. I heard recently that Facebook can actually predict if couples are about to break up, by how their interactions on Facebook change. I don't think they set out to learn that but they just have all of this data coming in that patterns are inevitably found.
      It's almost like a Black Mirror episode. Imagine if you get contacted by some kind of 'Relationship Recovery Service' and they tell you that, according to their data, your partner is about to dump up, but they can sell you the correct set of steps to prevent that!
       
    6. tmark938

      tmark938 Moderator EngineeringClicks Expert

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      It is frightening to see Big Brother watching and how much data they have about humans and what we do, how we react, etc. The ongoing development of AI will speed up this analysis process. Maybe we will be able to tell the future, in the future, based on the past. Progress or scary stuff?
       
    7. MSHOfficial

      MSHOfficial Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      Watch this about how the google assistant can make phone calls now.


      This type of machine learning is amazing but also so scary. Imagine the google assistant knows your passwords, bank information and can make a call to your bank. Or knows your social security number and can play with personal information.

      The thing which impresses me about this AI was the part where the machine would automatically make a phone call and update all information on googles website so during holidays everyone wouldn’t need to call and check with the place if they are open or not.

      I am not sure if AI is something to be scared of. There wouldn’t be a problem if everything was not known by google. But all the passwords and documents we ever e-mailed or anything we have ever downloaded, google has a trace of it. That is what makes it scary.


      However, talking about this example. The assistant also recognizes the intonation of the voice and that was something very amazing. But different nationality and languages have different intonations and I wonder how long before google will operate in all the languages worldwide.

      Change is inevitable so we should just hope for the best and not be scared of it.
       
    8. john12

      john12 Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      Yeah, I saw this too. You can tell it's a computer calling, but only just. I wonder how well it would deal with anything out of the ordinary though - a strong accent for example.

      There's another video where a guy calls a call centre and he's convinced he's talking to a computer... so he asks something like, "Are you a computer?" and the lady laughs and replies, "I don't know what you're talking about, I am a real person!".

      He asks in a few different ways and she gives exactly the same answer - word for word. So it is actually a computer, but it's pretending to be a person!
       
    9. MSHOfficial

      MSHOfficial Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      Well it doesn’t matter if you are talking to a computer or not if its business related just answer it. And if its personal and you don’t want to share it just don’t :3. The google assistant is trained specially with strong accents, so they make people talk to the google assistant and type in what they just said so the machine learns it. Its called machine learning in AI. Its like teaching a child basically, repeat until the child knows what you are talking about.

      But the widespread vocab is something that google assistant isn’t trained very well with, because there are more words than we know in more languages that we know. And learning all of them or teaching all of them or using all of them in sentences is also impossible. So they came up with a new game where the google assistant picks up words from the dictionary and asks people to put it in a sentence, right now they are training the google assistant to do that. The best part is they also do it with intonations and from people with different backgrounds so they speak the same thing differently and google assistant is trying to learn it all. I guess its something nice we would not have to make calls again. I don’t like calling up people anyway.

      However, there is a scary part to this too, what if the assistant learns the voice of your loved ones and calls you to get personal information. Ill be so easy to con people after that.
       
    10. john12

      john12 Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      Yeah, I don't like calling people either. Maybe it's an engineer thing :).

      It's funny how soon it's probably it's going to be my AI calling your AI to set up a meeting without the direct input of either of us.

      I remember a few years ago my phone alerted me, "Hey, you have a meeting at work soon but the traffic is really bad so you should leave home earlier than usual".
      I didn't even know I was supposed to be in the meeting but Google saved me missing it. In a way it was creepy because Google automatically knew where I worked and so on... but it was also really useful!
       
    11. MSHOfficial

      MSHOfficial Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      It wouldn’t be your AI calling my AI to set up a meeting. Lets take this one step further, it would be your AI meeting my AI.

      Well google knows everything. Google saved me from missing my flight. Once I bought my tickets 1 month ago and forgot about the actual timings of the flight. The only thing I did was, the mail came to my gmail, and google kept track of it. I had a stopover in Istanbul for 2 hours as I remember. So when I landed there and my phones time was still set at the previous country (didn’t update when I checked my phone) so I thought I had 2 hours left for my next flight. But what I missed was my flight had arrived into Istanbul 45 mins to 1 hour late because of traffic in the air and we had to hold in the air, but since I was too busy sleeping I didn’t know that. But google alerted me the current Turkish time and told me my flight leaves in another half hour, at that point I check my time and then run to catch my flight. I was the last passenger boarding.
       

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