Here are some of the new structures that have been made possible through improvements in 3D printing technology. The structure in the bottom left hand corner is one specifically designed for cushioning on footwear. *Photo supplied
Here are some of the new structures that have been made possible through improvements in 3D printing technology. The structure in the bottom left hand corner is one specifically designed for cushioning on footwear. *Photo supplied
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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19: Tony Ruto’s talk really was the stuff of science fiction.

The audience was invited to imagine a world where a vending machine could deliver an object of your choice merely by reading a memory stick you have inserted into it. Welcome to the world of 3D printing, a process that is breaking all the rules of design and engineering.

Printing with materials such as plastic and concrete is making way for the manufacture of seemingly impossible designs. Thanks to the versatility of 3D printing, engine parts can be made more lightweight, medical implants can be designed to be more porous allowing, for instance, bone to better adhere to and grow into it, and super comfortable cushioning made out of latticed plastic with minimal lateral movement.

The CTO of Within Technologies Tony Ruto explained: “It works by creating layers of an object and building those layers up until you have something that is 3D and real. Powder can be set on every single layer that’s being fused and bonded to the next layer. 3D printers offer designers quite a lot of freedom in what they can achieve with a manufacturing technique.

“We have an interesting topology designed as a support mechanism for footwear. Mostly it compresses down in a spring like way but when it’s locked down it doesn’t have much lateral movement — you don’t want lateral movement if you are running but you do want some cushioning as your heel hits the ground.”

He told the audience that Bermuda should be excited and get involved this is a very interesting technology and it is happening now. He said it would be particularly useful to Bermuda as we would be able to manufacture products here rather than having to ship them in.

Ruto brought in several 3D printed objects to the conference that had everyone in the audience in awe.  To see them with your own eyes visit www.withinlab.com.