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MIT’s Inkbit

3D Printing Industry reports on yet another breakthrough for additive manufacturing developed at MIT.  Specifically, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has created Inkbit, a startup for an industrial 3D printer “with machine-vision and machine-learning technologies.”

Inkbit’s Co-Founder and CEO Davide Marini explains: “the company was born out of the idea of endowing a 3D printer with eyes and brains.  Everyone knows the advantages of 3D printing are enormous, but most people are experiencing problems adopting it. The technology just isn’t there yet.”

“Our machine is the first one that can learn the properties of a material and predict its behavior.  I believe it will be transformative because it will enable anyone to go from an idea to a usable product extremely quickly. It opens up business opportunities for everyone.”

Inkbit’s multi-material inkjet 3D printer ‘Snapper’ is able to produce “10 materials at once with machine vision.”  As for the eyes and brains of the machine, the laboratory “integrated a custom optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanner, which uses light with a long wavelength to see through the surface of materials as well as scan layers at a resolution the fraction of the width of a human hair. This acts as the “eyes” of the 3D printer enabling autonomous corrections in real-time, i.e., compensation for warping and shrinkage with a machine-learning system or “the brain.””

As for Inkbit’s initial rollout, “the first industrial Snapper 3D printers, which feature a build volume of 450 x 250 x 250mm, will be acquired by Johnson and Johnson.”  Otherwise, more systems will be shipped later this year.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry and Inkbit

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