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Engineering Materials

3D Printable Robots Get NSF Research Funding

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D Printable for Everyone?
Ann R. Thryft   4/17/2012 12:54:48 PM
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Scott, I think you're right, and the expectation is that consumers will be buying some kind of package that they then customize. The problem with using the terms "design" and "program" is that they mean something quite different to a consumer than they do to an engineer.


Scott Orlosky
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Re: 3D Printable for Everyone?
Scott Orlosky   4/17/2012 1:08:48 PM
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Good point about the differences in understanding between the engineer and the average consumer in terms of terminology and functionality  It's that difference that can often make or break a product.  I'm reminded that for years we sold a sensor product with an embedded functionality that made the interface more flexible.  We sold a few.  We decided to package up that flexible interface in a separate "black box" that lived in a control cabinet and in no time we were selling thousands every year. Counterintuitive? Yes - from the engineering point of view.  Perfect for the user.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3d printable robots?
Ann R. Thryft   4/17/2012 1:14:55 PM
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William, I agree that how this is packaged for consumers is key. I've made the same type of criticisms about giving consumers the ability to 3D print other things, such as toaster parts. However, apparently the idea is that they could only customize existing blueprints, not actually "design" their own robots in an engineering sense.


Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Focus on research
Ann R. Thryft   4/18/2012 12:37:30 PM
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3D Printable Robots

 

Chuck, the price tag, the five-year span and the assembled brainpower says to me that if these guys can't do it on this project, it probably can't be done--at least not yet. The NSF doesn't hand out that kind of money every day. The NSF is also highly involved in trying to keep the US competitive in STEM.


Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D Printable for Everyone?
Ann R. Thryft   4/18/2012 12:39:03 PM
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Scott, thanks for your input on this subject. It keeps coming up during our discussions of robot packages, and I've also run across the different usage of these terms in a couple of other areas, such as machine vision.

 

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