In a development that provides a glimpse of 3D printing’s potential, Cornell University researchers have 3D printed a working loudspeaker, according to the university.
That’s impressive because instead of creating the shell of a product using 3D printing, they created an integrated system – albeit a simple one.
The loudspeaker was designed by mechanical engineering graduate students Apoorva Kiran and Robert MacCurdy working with Hod Lipson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and a co-author of the recent book “Fabricated: The New World of 3D printing.”
If you’re picturing having your next iPhone 3D printed while you wait, however, Lipson notes that moving beyond a simple design into more complex consumer electronics presents a “materials science” challenge. The question is whether the varying materials needed for batteries, transistors and other components can come out of the same printer at the same time.
Not yet. For this project, two different printers were used. In the near future, though, Lipson says it’s easy to imagine those functions being combined into a single unit.
You can see the speaker being created, and hear more from Lipson on the technology, in the video below:
[ image courtesy of Jason Koski / Cornell University ]