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Companies want to 3D print human skin within the next five years, using a mix of live cells and specialized 3D machines. The bioprinting market could evolve into a $1 billion market by 2025, and offer a scalable method for personalized medicine.
Cosmetics company L'Oreal is working with the Organovo biotech company to begin 3D printing skin tissues. If done successfully, both companies hope for realistic product testing in the future. It's possible to grow real skin in a laboratory, but it's a slow and costly procedure - using bioprinting with 3D printers would greatly accelerate the process.
"Some safety questions are still difficult to mimic with today's methods and new, additional non-animal alternative methods are needed," said Elena Lurie-Luke, P&G Global Life Sciences innovation leader, in a statement published by CNN Money. "3D bioprinting is a promising option for the future."
Augmented reality and virtual reality products are expected to drastically increase, from 2.5 million units sold in 2015 up to 24 million units in 2018, according to the Augmented and Virtual Reality Device Forecast, 2015-2019 report. As more consumers begin to test AR and VR solutions, the market will have an estimated net value of more than $4 billion.
"Most consumers find virtual reality a mind-blowing experience the first time they try it," said Ben Wood, Chief of Research at CCS Insight, in a statement published by Forbes. "We believe it has tremendous potential and it's not just about expensive high-end devices such as the Oculus Rift. For only a few dollars, consumers can dip their toe in the water with an inexpensive cardboard holder for a compatible smartphone."
Even with Sony's Project Morpheus, Oculus Rift, and other high-end VR solutions gaining a lot of attention, CCS Insight doesn't want people to forget about the Made for Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR devices.
Technology has helped push the sport of cycling to new levels in recent years, and Sir Bradley Wiggins will use custom 3D-printed handlebars in his hour record attempt.
Using 3D printing technology, bike manufacturer Pinarello and other sponsors were able to custom fit titanium handlebars designed for Wiggins to remain as aerodynamic as possible. Exact details about the one-piece handlebars will likely remain a secret until his June 7 record attempt.
The hour record has become popular in recent times, with the record being broken multiple times in the past year alone - starting with fan-favorite Jens Voigt setting a 51.115KM pace in September, with it increasing up to 52.937KM by Alex Dowsett in May. Realistically, Wiggins should be able to eclipse Dowsett's record, and some believe he could even reach 55KM in one hour on the velodrome.
Augmented reality is evolving into a suitable virtual environment for consumers and in the workplace, with Microsoft interested in pushing the boundaries of 3D interaction. HoloLens could allow wearers to view the actions of other people right in front of you, instead of just interacting with objects or environments.
The company currently has a custom holographic TV studio that uses around 100 cameras to track movements of humans. Captured video footage and custom software allows for an accurate creation that is much more immersive than a regular computer animation.
"There's something magical about it being real people and motion," said Steve Sullivan, who is currently involved with the HoloLens project, in a statement published by the MIT Technology Review. "If you have a HoloLens, you really feel these performances are in your world."
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."