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Scott E. Hudson is a Professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon, and the founder of their “HCI” doctoral program. The talk he gave yesterday at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 32nd annual Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI 2014) is making waves all over the web today. The paper and video (embedded above) released to accompany that talk present a new kind of “soft” 3D printing technology that radically expands the possibilities of low-cost additive prototyping and manufacturing equipment.

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Hudson’s “Teddy Bear Printer” uses a process that is, in his words, “tightly analogous” to the familiar fused-filament fabrication technology of RepRap, MakerBot, Ultimaker, and other common desktop 3D printers — so much so that the established software toolchains for these printers can be used almost without modification for Hudson’s machine. His proof-of-concept system consists of an off-the-shelf RAMPS-controlled desktop 3D printer running Repetier-Host for client functions, Slic3r (plus “custom translation” post-processing software) for CAM functions, and OpenSCAD for modeling (CAD) functions. The major difference is a special “needle felting print head” attached to the Cartesian robot.

Scott Hudson, “Printing Teddy Bears: A Technique for 3D Printing of Soft Interactive Objects”, to appear in Proceedings of the CHI’14 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, April 2014. (PDF)

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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