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The media hype for 3D printing has been very high in the last few years. Although it is nothing new in printing industry there are still some exciting 3D-printed innovations entering the market. Anyway there are some interesting developments, which are worth keeping an eye on. This is why we gathered some trends in 3D printing technologies, which printing professionals should bear in mind for the future.

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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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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.

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In recent years, 3D printing is experiencing a boom. While helping to design and create products faster than ever before, this technology also known as additive manufacturing is revolutionizing every field it enters.
The result is that it is becoming more affordable. So, it has great potential in many areas – even when it comes to environmental issues.

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In the past centuries, several cultural assets have been destroyed due to iconoclasm. A graphic example is the Arch of Palmyra in Syria. Originally, it has been the entryway to the Temple of Baal and should demonstrate the extreme prosperity of the city. In 1980, the UNSECO added the historical building to its list of world heritages. But in October 2015 it finally was destroyed. Therefore the Institute of Digital Archaeology developed a technology, which is able to 3D print replicas of endangered monuments based on specifically edited images.

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Climate change, disease, pollution, unsustainable fishing, and dredging are major threats to coral reefs. The WWF states that almost 30 percent of the world’s coral reefs have already disappeared and estimates that 60 percent of them will be destroyed over the next 30 years, if no changes occur. 3D printing now offers the chance to repair the damage already done and avoid larger damage.

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Have you ever heard of the ‘mother of mankind’ Lucy? She or at least her remains are one of the oldest and best-preserved fossils of the ancestors of modern man. There are many hypotheses of how she really died. 3D printing technology now made it possible to finally solve the cold case of Lucy’s death and opens up new perspectives in the study of fossils.

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The Japanese company Casio designed a printing mechanism that falls right in between a regular painting process and new 3D printing technologies. It is aimed to provide education material, especially for the blind, tactile learning and mapping as well as dynamic graphics.

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Modern technologies such as 3D printing might help on the journey towards a greener world. Just last year sports brand Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans to develop an innovative shoe concept which uses plastic waste from the ocean and 3D technology to tackle the pollution of the oceans.

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Future Links CW 3: Multichannel Edition

When it comes to multichannel news, we could not get around featuring rumours about augmented reality glasses by Apple, Philips’ augmented-reality technology for the image-guided minimally-invasive surgery market , the Royal Shakespeare Company’s innovative approach to storytelling with virtual reality, Crown’s new microsite for designing metal packaging and the new omnichannel programmatic advertisting integration platform by Sharethrough and Adelphic.