Army Uses 3D-Printed Tentacles to Help Robots Manipulate Objects
Four suction cups like these -- modeled after those on an octopus’ tentacles -- can be used by a robot to pick up and grasp a wine bottle. Army researchers designed the technology to be used on robots that can replace humans in perilous situations, such as during disaster-recovery efforts. (Source: Army Research Laboratory)
It seems like 3D printing is being mentioned more and more these days as a way to accelerate design development (or in this case 'tentacle' development). As we alll know, 3D printing technology can create rapid prototypes which allow designers to compress their development time by squeezing in more design iterations over the same time period. I'm glad to see this technology being embraced by everyone.
3D printing is really taking off, indeed, Greg, and it doesn't seem like it's merely for prototyping anymore. I think eventually it will be used for full production. Stay tuned for more news in this area for sure.
As manufacturers add new technologies to their products, designing for compliance becomes more difficult. Prepare for the certification testing process. Otherwise, you increase the risk of discovering a safety issue after a product leaves the assembly line. That will cause significant time-to-market delays, be much costlier to fix, and damage your brand in the eyes of customers.
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