“Pipeline works” and the development of 3D printing technology

In a crisis- and conflict-ridden Libya,  young robotics students work together across social, economic and racial divides. This year, young people there took part in the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition, where they learned about new technologies and the importance of inclusivity and cooperation for national development.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield are developing small “pipe boots” that will detect faults in water pipes. Implementing this technology will save billions of litres of water in Europe alone, where 26% of water supplies are lost yearly due to sewer system leaks. Small “pipeline robots” – equipped with sensors and cameras – will navigate through water networks, locate problems and send information to repair teams.

Car engines and spare parts, hearing aids,  organs for transplantation, food, clothing, a whole street of houses… Is the revolution that 3D printing technology was supposed to bring about finally becoming a reality? By 2026, the global 3D printing market will almost triple $44.5 billion. There will be 46 concrete-printed net zero-carbon homes for low-income families and war veterans near Manchester. 3D technology is being used to create the US Czinger 21C hybrid supercar with a top speed of more than 407 km/h and acceleration of 100 km in under 2 s. 3D printing also enables, among other applications, the production of complex orthopaedic implants – in 2021, a woman’s ear was reconstructed in the US using an implant made from living tissue printed in 3D.

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