3D printing is just one of the rapidly advancing technologies that is making real life look a lot like the science fiction of just a few years ago. Here’s another – a start-up company called Daqri has created a new 3D laser printing technique that can rapidly form objects using 3D light fields. By essentially projecting a hologram via the company’s Software Defined Light (SDL) technology on the printing material, the company can greatly speed up the printing process.
Daqri builds augmented reality systems, and the printing solution is designed around its holographic chip. The company also offers smart glasses and a smart helmet for augmented reality applications. Daqri’s heads-up Smart HUD displays – which project information onto car windshields — have already been deployed on thousands of vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover.
The chip uses tunable crystals to control the magnitude and phase of reflected light. It can create solid objects by projecting holograms into a light-activated monomer. In the video below, you can see how the system can create a paper clip in just five seconds. (Compare that to the several minutes required by a traditional printer.) It can also do so without the need for supporting structures and without leaving any marks on the object from the layering required in traditional systems.
You can see more of the technology in action at Daqri’s blog.
Right now Daqri can only print small objects, but the company claims it should be able to increase the size of the printed form along with the size of the holographic chip. However, the heat energy produced by the system would have to regulated in such a way to prevent melting parts of the object during the print process.
Source: MIT Technology Review