TweakTown NewsRefine News by Category:
It looks like 3D printers are one step closer to widespread mainstream adoption, with 90 percent of respondents from companies saying they are "very satisfied" with their 3D printing experience, according to IDC.
Price, ease of use and service/support are critical to help drive adoption among business users, the survey found. In addition, non-users have a curiosity with 3D printing, and momentum will continue to build even further in the future.
"These printers are typically acquired for a specific creation workflow, but once in place the usage expands rapidly to other types of applications," said Keith Kmetz, VP of hardcopy peripherals solutions and services at IDC. "The early adopters who recognized the substantial cost and time-to-market benefits of 3D printing have carried the day, but it's their overall satisfaction and the ability to expand usage that will ultimately drive 3D printing to the next level."
The Airbus A350 XWB jet has more than 1,000 3D-printed parts manufactured by Stratasys, delivered to the aircraft manufacturer in late 2014. The A350 XWB has a 7,750-nautical mile range and can seat around 315 passengers in its wide-body plane.
Airbus and Stratasys started working together in 2013, with Airbus seeking 3D-printed parts to help keep production costs down - and so it can meet scheduled timelines. The custom parts must be able to meet airline safety standards, while reducing production times and overhead for the airline manufacturer.
3D-printed parts have a growing number of uses, and the aerospace industry wants to use them for commercial and private aircraft.
Neurosurgeons at the University of California at Los Angeles are using virtual reality to get a unique viewpoint of patients' brains. There is long-term hope that VR will help neurosurgeons shorten surgeries, while also making them easier to conduct.
"It's just amazing to see every little opening in the skull where a nerve goes through," said Dr. Neil Martin, chairman of the UCLA's department of neurosurgery, in a statement to CBS News. "I'm virtually inside the skull of the patient walking around, floating around."
During the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting, Dr. Martin said he believes virtual reality can have a "tremendous impact" on neuroscience research. A custom program is being developed with Moty Avisar, CEO of Surgical Theater and creator of F-16 flight simulators for the Israeli air force - using his expertise and blending brain scans with the flight simulation software.
During the Build conference keynote today, Microsoft announced it has expanded a partnership with Unity Technologies to include HoloLens support for the Unity development platform. Unity is best known for its Unity game engine, and is currently used in video game titles such as Cities: Skylines and HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft.
"Microsoft HoloLens unshackles game and app designers from traditional screens creating a freedom to completely reimagine how we view and interact with information, education, entertainment, creative tools, social networks, remote healthcare and more," said Steffen Toksvig, VP of strategic technology at Unity.
As part of the agreement, Unity tools will be included in the Unity Personal and Unity Pro packages for HoloLens.
Samsung believes there is potential for virtual reality in the workplace, and wants to explore possible opportunities. The company already has the Gear VR headset, but that product is designed for consumers - something a bit more rugged would likely be required in the enterprise world.
VR headsets could become appealing in the office because they create an immersive way to give presentations or sales pitches. However, developing and sharing content designed for VR headsets would need to be customized for every company based on their work environments.
Samsung says the automotive industry has shown the most interest in VR, but real estate agencies and other niche companies could benefit from VR. Unfortunately, it could be years of testing and development before VR begins to take off in the workplace - with more dedication needed from software developers and hardware manufacturers
The US Air Force's 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (ISRG) is testing 3D glasses paired with the Common Geospacial System to provide an enhanced view of environments. Each person wearing the headset can view ground elevations, building heights and other geographical data used for more precise missile strikes.
To provide this view, two overlapping images, captured from different viewpoints is used - as part of a custom $17,000 bundle that provides software, monitors, and goggles. Unfortunately, the 3D images cannot be created in real-time, so it takes time and patience to create superimposed data used by the ISRG team.
"The glasses used to bigger and have batteries," said Tech Sgt. Tiffany, who has tested the system at Langley, in a statement published by The Daily Press. "They are much smaller and easier to use now. They look like regular sunglasses."
Facebook decided to purchase Oculus VR and has shown a serious amount of dedication towards developing the virtual reality market. The company expects great things from VR, including its Oculus Rift headset, while promoting what users can expect from the surging market.
"It will be pretty wild," Zuckerberg recently said when asked by Facebook members. "Just like we capture photos and videos today and then share them on the Internet to let others experience them too, we'll be able to capture whole 3D scenes and create new environments and then share those with people as well."
VR was described as "potentially world-changing and incredibly cool" by Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash during the F8 Facebook Developer Conference last month.
3D printing is helping push the boundaries of modern surgery, allowing surgeons and other medical practitioners to work on more accurate models before live operations. Violet Pietrok, a two-year-old born with a rare cleft deformity, is undergoing a series of operations in large part because of 3D printing.
Trying to make precision cuts in the skull, which would be extremely close to the optic nerve, has serious consequences - but doctors were able to practice on a 3D model first. The firsthand experience gave them a better idea of sawblade trajectory - and to better understand how they would be able to make the cuts.
"We were actually able to do the procedure before going into the operating room," said Dr. John Meara, plastic surgeon-in-chief at Boston Children's Hospital, in a statement to CBC. "So we made the cuts in the model, made the bony movements that we would be making in Violet's case and we identified some issues that we modified prior to going into the operating room, which saves time and means that you're not making some of these critical decisions in the operating room."
The Texas A&M University Viz Lab, focused on visualization, wants to find ways to bring virtual reality to mainstream consumers in a number of different ways. It hopes recent graduates of the program will create new solutions so casual consumers can begin enjoying - and embracing - VR on a larger scale.
Specifically, a post-grad from the program has taken VR a step further after founding a startup in San Francisco focused on creating a mobile app that allows for VR movie captures using their devices. The content can then be shared so others are able to use a virtual reality head-mounted display or smartphone.
"It's the first medium we're attacking because I want us to be the Instagram of virtual reality," said Chris Wheeler, co-founder of Emergent VR, in a statement published by The Eagle. "It's enabling anyone to capture moments from their lives... and share that with your social network."
Hardware powering virtual reality head-mounted displays (HMDs) is accelerating, but consumers are looking for an enjoyable VR experience to embrace. That "killer experience" is more than just a series of apps that draw attention, according to a specialist from the Sony PlayStation Magic Lab.
"It could be anywhere. It could be a virtual space, or a real place that's here on Earth," said Richard Marks, director of the Project Morpheus for Sony, in a statement to CNBC's "Squawk Alley." "Everyone would like to visit somewhere else, whether it be Mars or Hogwarts, and just feeling like you're standing in a place like that is really the killer experience."
VR hardware is improving with better presence - and latency times are getting better - with huge potential for gaming and other markets. It may not just be gaming and movies, as VR provides more realistic simulators and training experiences for the workplace. Once software development matures, there is huge potential in the consumer and business industries.