3-D printing has been around since the mid-1980's, which was first invented using a stereolithography technique. A commercial apparatus of this kind could sell for up to $100,000. Even with devices becoming more compact and easy-to-use over the years, many people still find 3-D printers out of their budget.
But there's no escape from a future that doesn't involve an incredible variety of 3-D printing applications.
Recently, we've even seen a team of researchers who discovered a way to bioprint cartilage by using an "ink" composed of human cells. As the demand for affordable 3-D printers and printed objects increases, the market has been answering those calls. One company in particular developed a device that not only allows users to 3-D print from their smartphones, but it also comes at a very modest price.
The OLO is a $99 gadget that can be used from anywhere, as long as you have a smartphone with you. The entire thing weighs only 780 grams (1.7 lbs) and is super simple to operate.
When placed on top of your phone along with a colored photopolymer resin of choice, the control electronics inside the OLO are able to print an object that is loaded onto your phone from a schematic. This can be directly downloaded to your phone using the OLO mobile app.
So How Exactly Does It Work?
After loading the schematic onto your phone and placing it into the OLO base, then comes the printing part. Digital Trends' Drew Prindle explains that "the app makes your phone's screen light up with a specific pattern. So as your phone's screen beam lights up into the reservoir, the directed light causes a layer of resin to harden...which slowly moves upward as each new layer is created."
The cool thing is that users have the option to create objects that are hard or flexible. OLO only uses the required amount of resin in order to eliminate waste.
Expect to see the first shipments of OLO this September.