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Entertainment giant Disney has been at the forefront of research for 3D printing and soft robotics, which is hardly surprising when you consider that it is one of the largest and most powerful media companies in the world. Through its Disney Research network, the company has driven forward 3D printing-related research significantly, filing patents for a support-free resin 3D printing method, an anti-scanning material to protect its toys, and working towards creating 3D printed soft robots for its theme parks.
At the upcoming SIGGRAPH 2017 computer graphics and interactive techniques conference in Los Angeles, Disney researchers will presents their latest achievement: a computational design tool that enables the 3D printing of compliant mechanisms—or flexible, bendable mechanisms.
Method - Bernhard - Thomaszewski - Disney - Research
The method, developed by Bernhard Thomaszewski, a former Disney Research scientist and a professor at the University of Montreal, and Disney scientist Moritz Bacher, is capable of automatically transforming a design for a “conventional, rigidly articulated device” into a flexible mechanism which fulfills the same function.
"Compliant mechanisms enjoy widespread use in industry - ranging from miniature actuators in microelectromechanical systems to the binder clips, backpack latches and shampoo lids common in everyday life," Thomaszewski explained. ”Even broader use in machines is attractive because of their precision and because they can be readily manufactured.”
Flexibility - Rigidity - Understanding - Materials - Shape
"Unfortunately, designing for flexibility is more difficult than for rigidity because it demands a deeper understanding of how materials behave as their shape changes," added Bacher. The research team has reportedly demonstrated its computational design tool by 3D printing...
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