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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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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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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.

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E-Ink is known by a lot of people because of e-books, but this technology has a lot more to offer. Recently, drivers could spot trucks on the roads that are equipped with a billboard at the rear showing content that has been adjusted to their current location. Previously, the dimensions of truck advertising were very limited. It was only possible to cover them with adhesive foil so that advertisers had to opt for general content fitting everywhere at any time.

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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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Printing in private contexts becomes more and more a second choice. But sometimes you necessarily have to print out your documents mostly on a quite space consuming printer. For all of those who don’t want a big printer, just print every once in a while or people who have to print on the go, there is a new solution: ZUta Labs’ Mini Robotic Printer.

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With printed electronics the two industries engineering and printing come together. Due to the developments in this sector we are able to print solar cells or flexible electronics. A recent invention might shake the world of printed electronics and take it one step further. The Korean battery scientist Sang-Young Lee from has now turned a normal inkjet printer into a machine that prints electronic circuits and supercapacitors (energy storing devices).

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Azure, cobalt, indigo or ultramarine blue: We know already hundreds of blue colors. Scientists from Oregon State University have created a new shade of blue – by accident. The blue pigment made from yttrium, indium, and manganese is called “YInMn”, which is short for the elements it comprises.

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There is a large demand for cost-efficient skin graft to cover wounds or severe injuries, e.g. after a severe burn. Scientists all over the world have made approaches to produce artificial skin. But professor Muhammad Mustafa Hussain from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology has developed an artificial skin from unusual materials: Paper, aluminum foil, and sponges.

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