This week in engineering and design found the 3D printed future of insoles for diabetes patients, a video fly-through of the International Space Station, and a Polish bike path that glows.
This week Poland is making headlines with a bike path made of material that glows for 10 hours after being charged by sunlight. The self-illunimating bike path material is being monitored throughout the winter and if it handles the cold temperatures well, researchers will begin work on commercializing the material in the spring.
Also this week we learned how Disney is making facial capture technology more practical for movies. Traditionally facial capturing takes a lot of time which also requires a larger budget. But Disney has developed a face capture system that uses only a tiny number of recordings and synthetically generates the data you need to train the system. The solution is a uniformly-lit multi-camera rig (only one camera is active, the rest are for lighting) that creates an adjustable 3D model of the actor’s face that you can use to create the info you need. This means we could not only see more widespread use of facial motion capture, but more complicated uses of it with numerous actors.
3D PRINTING NEWS
This week we learned that diabetes patients will soon be able to enjoy customized insoles thanks to 3D printing. In people with diabetes, the nerve endings in the foot often become atrophied, and those affected cannot feel soreness. This can give rise to pressure points and eventually wounds that heal badly. Typically insoles for patients with diabetes were hand-made by orthopedic shoemakers. In the future, these specialist shoemakers will be able to produce insoles more cost-effectively thanks to new software and the use of 3D printers. This approach means the mechanical properties of each insole can be assessed scientifically and more effectively.
This week also introduced FEND, the foldable 3D printed bike helmet that is portable and stylish. Recently launched on Kickstarter, FEND was created to minimize the hassle of carrying a bike helmet around for those that commute via trike. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 80%, but some still find them to be bothersome when running errands or trying to store them. FEND’s crowdfunded campaign, which runs until November 4th, still has a variety of backer rewards available, including a FEND helmet in either black or white for $89 ($30 less than it’s expected retail price). The money from the Kickstarter will allow the FEND team to put their product into production by funding the tooling and manufacturing costs.
This week we saw some really creative costumes for Halloween. One of our favorite comes from YouTuber Visual Burrito, dressing his daughter up as a very convincing thunder cloud. Watch Princess Cumulus and see how her father made such a cool costume.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
This week NASA is letting everyone take a fly-through the International Space Station. The footage was shot in Ultra High Definition (4K) using a fisheye lens for extreme focus and depth of field. Be sure to watch the top left scroll on the video where commentary goes through each section you tour, including pointing out the mission patches left by visiting astronauts.