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Forget Everything You Know About 3D Printing—the “Replicator” Is Here

A new 3D printing technique can replicate complex structures—such as Rodin’s famous sculpture, “The Thinker,” seen here—using projections of light into a special resin. Credit: Getty Images They nicknamed it ‘the replicator’—in homage to the machines in the Star Trek saga that can materialize virtually any inanimate object. Researchers have unveiled a 3D printer that creates an entire object at once, rather than building it layer by layer as typical additive-manufacturing devices do—bringing science-fiction a step closer to reality. “This is an exciting advancement to rapidly prototype fairly small and transparent parts,” says Joseph DeSimone, a chemist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Advertisement The device, described on 31 January in Science , works like a computed tomography (CT) scan in reverse, explains Hayden Taylor, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Berkeley. In CT machines, an X-ray tube rotates around the patient, taking multiple […]

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