Creating novel materials from the inside out
With this completely new digital manufacturing vision, HP’s voxel-level 3D printing will soon create new products, and entirely new markets, that simply aren’t possible using traditional production methods, or even other 3D printing methods.
With voxel-level control, designers will soon be able to influence the way in which materials bond with each other, allowing them to change the tiniest mechanical properties of physical objects, such as allowing very specific areas to be soft and flexible while others are rigid and hard.
For example, by applying agents containing bits of metal to voxels in specific patterns, 3D-printed objects could be embedded with functional electronics such as simple circuits, sensors or even wireless antennae.
This alone further expands the design possibilities of 3D printing, but micro-level control goes for color, too. Different hues can be infused into individual voxels to create dazzling and unlimited arrays of color configurations to serve a variety of aesthetic or functional applications. It can even help save lives.
For example, a surgeon may need a better reference for his patient’s heart than a 2D x-ray can provide. Soon, that doctor will be able to make a 3D scan of his patient’s heart and from it, create an exact replica — with its unique network of multicolored veins and arteries — and then 3D-print it within feet of the operating room, potentially supporting better surgical outcomes for millions of patients.