I wasn’t expecting this, but maybe I should have: we can now fully 3D print functional drones. Doesn’t that feel right to say in 2021? The universe owes us at least one cool thing after last year.
MIT’s — and, yeah, of course it’s MIT — Computer Science/AI laboratory have developed a means of printing functional drones and other devices. If that capability wasn’t cool enough, they’ve decided to call the project: LaserFactory (if only this could have happened in the 90s, a name like that would have fit that decade incredibly well).
More from a recent Venture Beat article:
“…LaserFactory can print fully functional devices and, in the case of a drone, devices that can immediately take off to begin a task. As the researchers behind LaserFactory note in a paper describing their work, this feature could in theory be used for jobs like delivery or search-and-rescue operations.
“LaserFactory has users design a device by selecting components from a library and drawing on lines that allow current to flow between electronics. They then finalize the drone’s geometry in a 2D editor, using propellers and batteries on the canvas before wiring them up to make electrical connections and drawing the perimeter to define the device’s shape.
“In the future, the research team hopes to increase the quality and resolution of the circuits, which would allow for denser and more complex electronics.”
How could your company benefit?
Even if your organization has absolutely no use for drones, the fact that a technology exists which can 3D print complex devices is pretty revolutionary.
Will companies some day 3D print their own phones to give out to employees, or will assembly lines change drastically? It’s hard to say which sectors will be most affected by such fledgling tech, but I’m curious to know what our readers would theoretically do with this capability. Let us know in the comments below.