Ancient dinosaurs are coming to life, using the latest tech: 3D printing. Researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia are creating 3D scans of original fossils and then “printing” scaled down models of the fossils to study the way dinosaurs lived and moved.
“Technology in paleontology hasn’t changed in about 150 years,” said Drexel paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, in a statement. “We use shovels and pickaxes and burlap and plaster. It hasn’t changed — until right now.”
Lacovara is teaming up with the university’s mechanical engineering department to bring this infusion of new tech to palentology.
“It’s kind of like Star Trek technology, where you can press a button and the object pops out,” Lacovara said. In just a few hours, a six-inch model of a bone can be printed and eventually assembled into a replica. The researchers will also create robotic models with artificial muscles and tendons.
The 3D-printed replicas will help researchers answer a number of questions: “We don’t know a lot about the way dinosaurs move,” Lacovara said. “How did they stand? How did they ambulate? Did they run or trot? How did they reproduce? It’s all a bit mysterious.”
Check out the video above to learn more about the project.
We met The Cubinator for the first time at the 2010 World Maker Faire. The robot currently holds the Guinness world record for fastest machine solve of a Rubik’s cube. Pete Redmond, who developed the robot for the final project of his master’s degree, says that its solve time averages about 25 seconds. Webcams in the robot’s eyes detect the colors on the cube and the machine solves the puzzle by using an algorithm to find the fewest moves. It also has has a sense of humor, shouting “oh dear!” when it occasionally drops the cube.
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