While 3D printing has come a long way, it still takes a relatively long time for anything to be printed. That’s because the printers work by creating something from the bottom up, layer by layer.
But that could soon change after researchers from Switzerland’s Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) announced they have developed a completely new way of creating 3D objects that offer remarkable resolution “in record time.”
As EPFL News reports, the method draws on the principle of tomography — the technique for displaying a representation of a cross section through a solid object, using x-rays or ultrasound. To make an object, a photosensitive resin is illuminated from multiple angles, with the accumulation of light helping to solidify the resin.
In other words, the object forms a solid structure within the resin in one go, rather than segment by segment, as is the case with traditional 3D printing.
The technology could have a wide range of uses, but its advantages over existing methods may assist medical experts. Researchers believe the process could be used, for instance, to make soft objects such as “tissue, organs, hearing aids and mouthguards.”
What’s more, printing can take place inside sealed, sterile containers, preventing contamination. With artificial intelligence and 3D printing technology advancing rapidly, the medical world is in for some seismic shifts in the coming years.