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MIT Unveils Impressive Biological Silkworm 3D Printer

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Technology has come a long way since the first technological device was invented. But when we look at the wonders of our world and how nature itself handles innovation, there is simply no comparison. Nature’s own processing power far exceeds that of technology, and we see that when we compare the complexity of our own brains with a computer’s ability to process things. In order to narrow the gap, researchers at MIT have combined nature with technology and created a biological silkworm 3D printer.

Innovating usually involves taking what’s present and creating something entirely new with it. That is exactly what the people over at MIT have been able to do with their silkworm 3D printer. Alright, it’s not a 3D printer per say, but it is in the sense that it will use silkworms to silk print predefined areas. The procedure is quite impressive and uses thousands of silkworms, 6,500 to be exact, in order to complete the final printed product.

Using these worms as the “printing head” of their innovation is a genius approach since the animal has endless printing material, if you know what I mean. I can’t say I know very much about the worm itself, but the video showcasing MIT’s silkworm 3D printer in action says it all. Think of the dome-like shape they use and put the silkworms on as a guide, sort of like the software used in real 3D printing. By threading the metal frame with silk string, it makes it easier for the silkworms to crawl and do their work.

What’s really impressive is that the researchers have created a software that uses an algorithm to accurately thread the metal frame with string in the exact pattern the silkworms would. This further adds to the look and feel of the final 3D printed object. There’s no doubt this process is infinitely longer than that of a real 3D printer, but I think the result is way more natural and impressive. So, anyone want to buy a biological silkworm 3D printer? Just make sure you have somewhere to store the 6,500 worms when they are not working for free for you.

MIT’s Biological Silkworm 3D Printer Innovation

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Via: [psfk]

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One Comment

John Vons

June 1st, 2013

To use the term “printer” when describing this project or a similar process is very misleading and inaccurate. Terms such as weave, sculpt, spin or fabricate would be far more appropriate than the hyped trending term “3D Printer”.

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