Cornell University Researchers Develop 3D-Printed Loudspeaker [Video]

Cornell University researchers from India and America namely Apoorva Kiran and Robert MacCurdy who are graduate students in mechanical engineering have been successful in 3D-printing of a Loudspeaker - a remarkable feat for 3D printers and innovators working on the same. The 3D-printed loudpeaker has all its components 3D printed too - right from the plastic shell, the flexible membrane, the metal wires and even the magnet. The two innovators along with Associate professor for mechanical and aerospace engineering - Hod Lipson have been now marked a new chapter in the 3D printing arena. It has become easy to think about the near future where we can have parts and components as well as complete functioning products fabricated at once as and when there is demand for it.

In the demonstration, Mr. Kiran used the amplifier to play a clip from President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech that mentioned 3-D printing. Though he feels that this is just a tip of the iceberg, we now await the time when printing of integrated systems becomes a reality. Among the challenges that are being faced by these researchers - one if that of finding mutually compatible materials. Using conductive copper and plastic at the same time in the printer is not possible as they require different temperatures and curing times.


For designing and printing this loudspeaker Mr. Kiran has used one of the lab’s Fab@Homes, a customizable research printer originally developed by Lipson and former graduate student and lab member Evan Malone, that allows scientists to play around with different cartridges, control software and other parameters. For the conductor, Kiran used a silver ink, whereas for the magnet, he used viscous blend of strontium ferrite thanks to the help of Samanvaya Srivastava, graduate student in chemical and biomolecular engineering.

Creating a market for printed electronic devices, Lipson said, could be like introducing color printers after only black and white had existed. “It opens up a whole new space that makes the old look primitive,” he said. However his demonstration has garnered good reviews so far. Take a look at the following video from December 2013 to see the loudspeaker 3D printing process in action -

Update: Lipson's Lab has been a room for innovation since quite long. Previously the lab has witnessed a working model of the Vail Register - an early application of electromagentism and a famous antique telegraph receiver and recorder that Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail used to send the first Morse code telegraph in 1844. They worked out a complete digital model for the same and 3D printed it on a research fabber. And it was a successful attempt. In fact, as a part of the demo, the researchers received and printed the same message Morse and Vail first did in 1844: “What hath God wrought.”
Do let us know what you think of such innovations in comments section below.

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