Carnegie Mellon and Disney Research invent 3D printer for teddy bears

Image: disneyresearch.com
Image: disneyresearch.com

Researchers have invented a 3D printer for teddy bears.

3D printer technology has recently been in stories from helping doctors map out surgery on a child’s heart to homes in China.

Usually the technology has been used on solid objects, not something soft and cuddly.

Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh are working on a project to turn wool and wool blend yarns into fabric objects.

The device looks like a cross between a 3D printer and a sewing machine.

Scott Hudson, from CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute who developed the felting printer with Disney Research support, said the results are reminiscent of hand-knitted materials.

Hudson demonstrated techniques for combining soft and hard materials, manipulating the stiffness, and for incorporating electronic components.

These techniques could be used to create robots that that are designed to be touched, or “soft robots.”

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