A Layered Fabric 3D Printer for Soft Interactive Objects

Link to publication page: http://www.disneyresearch.com/publication/a-layered-fabric-3d-printer-for-soft-interactive-objects/

We present a new type of 3D printer that can form precise, but soft and deformable 3D objects from layers of off-the-shelf fabric. Our printer employs an approach where a sheet of fabric forms each player of a 3D object. The printer cuts this sheet along the 2D contour of the layer using a laser cutter and then bonds it to previously printed layers using a heat sensitive adhesive. Surrounding fabric in each layer is temporarily retained to provide a removable support structure for layers printed above it. This process is repeated to build up a 3D object layer by layer. Our printer is capable of automatically feeding two separate fabric types into a single print. This allows specially cut layers of conductive fabric to be embedded in our soft prints. Using this capability we demonstrate 3D models with touch sensing capability built into a soft print in one complete printing process, and a simple LED display making use of a conductive fabric coil for wireless power reception.


Printing Teddy Bears: A Technique for 3D Printing of Soft Interactive Objects

Link to project page & press release: http://www.disneyresearch.com/project/printed-teddy-bears/

This paper considers the design, construction, and example use of a new type of 3D printer which fabricates three-dimensional objects from soft fibers (wool and wool blend yarn). This printer allows the substantial advantages of additive manufacturing techniques (including rapid turn-around prototyping of physical objects and support for high levels of customization and configuration) to be employed with a new class of material.

Soft robot camouflage system

Having already broken new ground in robotics with the development, last year, of a class of “soft”, silicone-based robots based on creatures like squid and octopi, Harvard scientists are now working to create systems that would allow the robots to camouflage themselves, or stand out in their environment.

As described in a paper published August 16 in Science, a team of researchers led by George M. Whitesides, the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, has developed a “dynamic coloration” system for soft robots that might one day have applications ranging from helping doctors plan complex surgeries to acting as a visual marker to help search crews following a disaster.

In this video, Stephen Morin, a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Chemistry and Chemical Biology and first author of the paper, discusses the research and demonstrates how the system works.