(Digital Trends, 6/28/17)
Neurotechnology, a Lithuanian software development company, wants to rethink 3D printing using ultrasonic particle manipulation. That might sound pretty far-out and futuristic — but with that goal in mind, the company has developed a radically new kind of printer, capable of “printing” just about anything you can imagine.
According to its creators, this technology could enable even something as complex as a smartphone to be 3D printed using a single machine: right from the outer casing to the printed electronic circuit boards that make it run. As well as your standard metals and plastics, it can also manipulate liquids with precision.
“The apparatus uses an array of ultrasonic transducers that emit ultrasonic waves,” lead researcher Osvaldas Putkis told Digital Trends. “By having individual control of each transducer, it is possible to create desired pressure profiles that can trap, rotate and move particles and components without touch. The non-contact nature of ultrasonic manipulation offers a few important advantages when compared to mechanical handling. It can handle a wide range of materials having very different mechanical properties, from plastics and metals down to even liquids. It can [also] handle sensitive materials and small components, avoiding the parasitic electrostatic forces.”