Cornell researchers print 3D speaker

The fully-functional speaker is one of the first 3D-printed electronics products

Graduate student Apoorva Kiran working on his 3D printed, fully functional loudspeaker at Cornell University.

Graduate student Apoorva Kiran working on his 3D printed, fully functional loudspeaker at Cornell University.

Researchers at Cornell University have successfully fabricated a working loudspeaker using a 3D printer.

Their work represents one of the first times a complete electronics device has been printed from scratch to a working product.

As its name suggests, a 3D printer is capable of printing in a third dimension, layering upwards from a base material in additional to the two dimensional flat printing we are all used to. Rather than ink, it uses materials like plastic. Developers believe it could one day enable people to print small products, components and devices in their home.

The speaker's plastic body, conductive coil and magnet were all printed using a "Fab@Homes" printer at the university and the speaker was almost ready for use as soon as printing was finished, the university said.

The Fab@Home is a research printer that was developed by two Cornell students to help researchers experiment with 3D printing. One of the developers, Apoorva Kiran, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, worked with fellow student Robert MacCurdy on the speaker.

The ability to print components like speakers using a home printer is one of the promises of future 3D printing technology, but it's not here yet.

Conventional printers are unsuitable for 3D printing and among 3D printers that are just beginning to come to market, many don't have the capability to print with different materials. Fabricating a single device also requires the selection of materials that work well together, according to Cornell. Conductive coil and copper and plastic coming out of the same printer require different temperatures and curing times, it said.

Research into 3D printing is still in its early stages.

A recent report by Gartner predicted that the market for sub-$100,000 3D printers will grow 49 percent this year to 56,507 units on the back of rapid increases in quality. For 2014, Gartner expects the market will jump by around 75 percent to just over 98,000 units and that shipments will almost double again in 2015.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular scienceperipheralsPrintersCornell University

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?