Palo Alto Research Center, Inc.,
Keywords: 3D printing
Summary:In order to expand 3D printing and making it more versatile, new processes are needed that are able to deposit a broader range of materials (plastics of different characteristics, as well as metals), along with embedded electronic circuits consisting of both printed and conventional components. Such printed objects go beyond conventional structural features by embedding optical and electrical functionalities, such as sensors; all in complex structures that are difficult to produce with existing manufacturing methods. Coupled with user-friendly design software it becomes possible to analyze complex designs in order to determine structural properties as well as model electrical and mechanical operation, explore materials compatibility and diagnose other aspects of the design which may cause fabrication problems. We have demonstrated printed wireless sensors as examples of complex functional objects. Example circuits sense pressure, strain and temperature and communicate measurements over wireless standards. In my presentation I describe our progress in printing integrated multi-material objects, including a collection of our latest demonstrators.