But now scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have found a shortcut: a printer that can fabricate objects in one shot using light – and which could, potentially, revolutionize rapid manufacturing technology.
The research, published in the journal Science yesterday, describes a printer the researchers nicknamed “the replicator” in a nod to Star Trek.
It works more like a computed tomography (CT) scan than a conventional 3D printer.
It builds a 3D image by scanning an object from multiple angles, then projects it into a tube of synthetic resin that solidifies when exposed to certain intensities of light.
In two minutes, for instance, the team was able to fabricate a tiny figurine of Auguste Rodin’s famous “The Thinker” statue.
The replicator might have groundbreaking implications, but it does have some inherent limitations as well: the objects it produces are small, and require special synthetic resin to produce.
But it’s an exciting new technology – and one that could lead to a Star Trekfuture.
This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.