The folks at Disney Research, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon, are doing interesting work with 3D printing clear resin, light-guiding “light pipes.” The details are documented in their newly released research paper, “Printed Optics: 3D Printing of Embedded Optical Elements for Interactive Devices” (PDF).

From their site:

Printed Optics is a new approach to creating custom optical elements for interactive devices using 3D printing. Printed Optics enable sensing, display, and illumination elements to be directly embedded in the body of an interactive device. Using these elements, unique display surfaces, novel illumination techniques, custom optical sensors, and robust embedded components can be digitally fabricated for rapid, high fidelity, customized interactive devices.

Printed Optics is part of our long term vision for the production of interactive devices that are 3D printed in their entirety. Future devices will be fabricated on demand with user-specific form and functionality. Printed Optics explores the possibilities for this vision afforded by today’s 3D printing technology.

Goli Mohammadi

Goli Mohammadi

I’m a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

I was an editor for the first 40 volumes of MAKE. The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. Covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made.

Contact me at snowgoli (at) gmail (dot) com.


  • Shotgunner

    Is anybody making an affordable printer that prints in wax? Metallic parts investment cast from 3D printed wax models seems like a terrific way to go!

  • https://www.3dhacker.com Andrew

    I can imagine printing headlights and art displays will be possible in the next half decade. This is big news!

    Andrew
    http://www.3DHacker.com
    http://www.youtube.com/user/andrewupandabout/videos

  • http://www.facebook.com/tatiana.coba.e Tatiana Coba

    really really far away technology that won’t be available for years in avery expensive market. no accessible to all humans. not worth watching. total waste of time.

    • http://gravatar.com/jamesfloydkelly jamesfloydkelly

      Didn’t think it was a waste of time at all. Do you only like to know about research and advances in tech that are available from WalMart or RadioShack? I enjoy watching, reading, and learning about all things maker-related, even if they’re out of my skill level or price range or even years from actual availability.

      • Andrew

        @Jamesfloydkelly…Agreed