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Disney Research Develops Layered Fabric 3D Printer That Can ‘Sew’ Touch-Sensitive Objects [Video]

Disney's 3D Fabric Printer

Disney Research has unveiled a new fabric-based 3D printer capable of printing soft, squishy interactive objects and the potential certainly doesn’t stop at printing adorable bunnies, as the researchers behind the new layered fabric printer demonstrated its ability to produce touch-sensing objects and a cell phone case capable of harvesting enough energy from the phone’s NFC communication to blink an LED.

The energy harvesting cell phone case was printed with a fabric antenna inside and as for touch-sensing objects, the team behind the printer — which was composed of researchers from Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh — demonstrated not only a starfish-shaped object capable of sensing touch but also a strip of conductive fabric turned into a slider; in the case of the latter, researchers slid a finger across the strip and a large dot could be seen moving on a screen.

In order to pull off the blinking LED, the researchers utilized a conductive fabric coil which allowed for wireless power reception.

In an explanation published on the Disney Research website, the company explains that a sheet of fabric is used to form each layer of the three-dimensional object created and that each layer is laser cut “along the 2D contour of the layer” and then bonded to previously printed layers through the employment of heat sensitive adhesives. Essentially, the objects are built one layer at a time.

In other 3D printing related coverage here Immortal News, four companies volunteered to 3D-print a prosthetic beak for a Costa Rican toucan with a broken beak.

What are your thoughts on Disney’s new 3D fabric printer?

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