The Breakthrough

The team presented its sensors last week at the Interact conference in Bamberg, Germany. The system is called PrintPut, and it can handle many different kinds of interactive elements, such as buttons, pressure sensors and touchpads, which can be integrated into curved surfaces. A software plugin finds the interactive areas and generates a second CAD design with all of the conductive areas highlighted.

The Implications

If the technology is real -- and it's similar to projects like MIT's MultiFab -- it means that industrial designers can just say where certain interactive elements go and let the CAD and 3D printer handle the rest. Of course, this kind of technology is right now most applicable to prototyping -- it's not an efficient way to generate things at scale yet.

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