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Rapid Ready Roundup: Office Depot, Running Shoes, Robugtix, and Minecraft

In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.

We’ll start today’s Roundup with 3D printing service news. Office Depot announced it would be expanding its in-store AM service to 150 stores across the US. The office supply chain will be placing 3D Systems Cube or the CubeX in both the service department and on the floor. Office Depot will also be providing 3D printing demonstrations at select stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas.

 

“We received an overwhelming response from our initial pilot program in Denver,” said George Hill, Office Depot’s senior VP of Copy and Print Depot. “Customers ranging from tech buffs and entrepreneurs to marketers, educators and stay-at-home parents commented on how they would utilize 3D printing in their lives. With that insight, we knew we needed to expand the scope and offer these demonstrations to markets across the country.”

Next up, London designer and researcher Shamees Aden, in collaboration with Dr. Martin M. Hanczyc, associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark, has developed regenerative running shoes. The shoes are produced by running a synthetic biological material through an AM system. While not precisely alive, the shoes contain protocells that can combine to form living organisms.

The protocells can also be programmed to respond to various stimuli, such as increasing padding on the soles of your feet while running. In addition, when not being worn, the shoes can be placed in a living protocell bath to self-repair, essentially creating a pair of shoes that will never wear out. Nike beware. While the technology isn’t quite ready for mass consumption, Aden claims the shoes should go on sale no later than 2050.

Moving on, if you are looking for a late Christmas present for that friend or loved on that has everything, how about a 3D printed robotic spider? For $2,999 you can order the Robugtix T8. The robo-spider moves via remote control thanks to 26 servo motors powered by the Bigfoot Inverse Kinematics Engine.

From the website:

The Bigfoot Inverse Kinematics Engine handles all the complex math calculations necessary for controlling multi-legged walking robots.  All computations are safely hidden from the user in the form of a black box.  This means that the user only has to send short and simple commands to the robot (for example, instructing it to walk forward at a desired speed) and the engine will automatically take care of all the details, including inverse kinematics, leg trajectory planning, leg gait coordination, motor control, etc.

Last for today, in a development that makes me want to post a picture of Xzibit, a Minecraft player has figured how to build and program a 3D printer inside the Minecraft world. For those not in the know, Minecraft is a popular video game based on blocky graphics. Players have the option of downloading the specs of objects built in the game to be 3D printed. So now you could have your virtual 3D printer 3D printed.

Below you’ll find a video about the Minecraft 3D printer.

Sources: Robugtix, The Verge, Destructoid, Business Wire

About John Newman

John Newman is a contributing editor to Desktop Engineering magazine. He covers the rapid prototyping and manufacturing beat.

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