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The media hype for 3D printing has been very high in the last few years. Although it is nothing new...

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Looking back at a great year, we definitely do not forget to look forward as well. After all, drupa 2016’s motto was “touch the future”! At K 2016, another trade show within the field of competence “Machinery, Plant and Equipment” at Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, we took the opportunity to meet some exhibitors from drupa 2016. While displaying innovations for the plastics and rubber industry, they reviewed drupa 2016 and answered a few questions. We asked them, which future trends they see regarding the next drupa, how they prepare for drupa 2020 and what they are looking forward to the most when thinking of it.

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Confidential documents or security papers normally need a special, and mostly expensive, technique in order to ensure authenticity and safety. Still might change in the future with the invention of Ajay Nahata, professor of electrical and computer engineering from the University of Utah and his team. The engineers developed a method, which uses standard inkjet printers and readily available ink to print hidden images that are visible only when using a specific illumination.

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With the increasing rise of advertising channels, marketers have to carefully consider where and how to promote their products or services. Another challenge is the distraction triggered by permanent media consumption. But the clever combination of different channels is able to turn this into an advantage. The following overview presents two ways of making print advertisements to interactive experiences and gathered some examples illustrating how to engage readers.

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Bone implantation surgeries are painful and complicated. With the aim to change the constitution of bone implants and to help especially pediatric patients, Ramille Shah, assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, and several researchers have teamed up to develop an ink, which can be used to 3D-print flexible bone implants. By offering a cheap and versatile way of injury treatment, this new material could revolutionize the way implantations are done.

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The 2016’s Global 3D Printing Report carried out by the auditing company Ernst & Young (E&Y) sums up the feelings and facts about the use of 3D printing in the industrial environment from 900 companies worldwide. Thus, E&Y surveyed decision makers from small, middle and large companies from twelve countries and nine industries.

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How time flies! With the year coming to an end, it is time to recap 2016. Our highlight was drupa 2016, no question! Its atmosphere was inspiring. This could not only be noticed on our fairgrounds, but also all over Düsseldorf and on the internet. More than 260.000 visitors from 188 countries and around 1.900 journalists from 74 countries crowded our halls during the eleven days of the show. They came to learn about technology innovations, further developments and new business lines and, of course, to discuss and network with 1.837 exhibitors from 54 countries.

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In the recent past, we have experienced a mass of innovations coming from the printing industry: 3D printed houses, food or even bones. The printing of OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) displays with an inkjet printer might be another leap in functional printing and next-generation TVs.

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Hair loss is a common phenomenon and a very emotional and distressing topic for some people. According to a recent study, 30 percent of men under the age of 30 suffer from early signs of baldness, and this rises to 80 percent for those in their 70s. To tackle this problem, cosmetics company has teamed up with Poietis, a French bio-printing start-up. With their joint expertise, they aim to print living human hair follicles and thereby combat the root causes of hair loss.

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3D printing has revolutionized how we walk through printed shoes, how we live through printed houses and now German researchers brought it another leap forward. With their new micron-scale optics, they want to make medicine and other fields much more efficient. Even though other companies and universities have already come up with 3D-printed fiber optics in the past, this new optic drives the production of nano-optics in another way.