3DPrinting.com reports that scientists have created a novel substance to enhance the realism of wearable technology.

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Title: Revolutionizing Wearable Technology: Engineers Develop a Breakthrough 3D Printed Material

Introduction:

In a groundbreaking collaboration, engineers and chemists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Meta have successfully developed a 3D printed material that mimics the properties of biological tissues. This incredible advancement holds immense potential to revolutionize wearable technology and elevate the concept of “augmented humanity.” Published in the esteemed journal Matter, their research introduces a unique 3D printable resin that can create seamless stiffness gradients using light. By replicating the natural transitions found in biological structures, this innovation overcomes a significant challenge in creating lifelike wearables – the mechanical disparity between soft tissues and rigid electronic components.

The Challenge:

One of the major hurdles in wearable technology has been the stark contrast between soft tissues and rigid electronic elements. Integrating these two distinct materials seamlessly has proven challenging, limiting the potential of wearable devices. Traditional additive manufacturing techniques provide unlimited design possibilities but have limitations in terms of material properties. This necessitated a search for a solution that allows engineers to effortlessly replicate engineered plastic systems while incorporating new properties of materials.

The Breakthrough:

Lead author and LLNL engineer, Sijia Huang, highlights the beauty of additive manufacturing and its ability to create intricate structures. However, Huang also acknowledges the limitations in material options. Motivated by this, the research team set out to develop a resin system that can adapt to changing demands by simply adjusting light intensity during the Digital Light Processing 3D printing process.

The Solution:

The team successfully developed a 3D printable resin that exhibits continuous mechanical gradients from soft to stiff within a single system. This breakthrough enables the creation of wearable devices with adaptable material properties. Additionally, the resin displays remarkable stability under both light and ambient conditions, setting it apart from traditional plastics. This development marks a significant step forward in the field of variable-stiffness polymer materials, offering long-term durability and versatility in design.

Unleashing the Potential:

The possibilities unlocked by this groundbreaking innovation are vast and far-reaching. Beyond wearable technology, this technology has applications in soft robotics, energy-absorbing materials, and wearable electronics. Engineers will be able to create wearables that blend seamlessly with the human body, enhancing comfort and usability.

Conclusion:

The collaboration between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Meta has resulted in a remarkable breakthrough in the development of wearable technology. By developing a 3D printed resin with the ability to emulate the properties of biological tissues, the researchers have paved the way for a new era in wearable devices. This achievement not only addresses the mechanical disparity between soft tissues and rigid electronic components but also ushers in a future of adaptable material properties. As this technology evolves, it holds the potential to transform various industries, making significant impacts on healthcare, assistive technologies, and beyond. Exciting times lie ahead, offering us a glimpse of the incredible possibilities that await us in the realm of 3D printed materials.

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