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Industry, Innovation
Around 4 billions tress are cut down annually to create various paper products. This accounts for nearly 40 percent of deforestation around the globe. Kevin Garcia and Jon Tse, two entrepreneurs from Australia were resolved to minimized this tragic impact upon the Earth. “What if we re-engineer how paper is made that’s more in line with our environmental responsibility?” asked Garcia. For an entire year, they steadily searched for an alternative sustainable material for making paper, when they came upon a Taiwanese company producing paper out of stone.

In the summer of 2017, Karst Stone Paper was started. Using stone waste extracted from construction site  and industrial waste dumps, the company is able to produce paper without the use of water, harsh chemicals and most importantly timber.
“If you look at the whole process of how paper is traditionally made, it involves chopping trees, adding chemicals and bleach to make pulp, using lots of water and then squeezing, drying and flattening it into sheets of paper,” said Garcia. “It’s labor intensive, contributes to high carbon emission deforestation.”

Karst’s stone paper is currently predicted to save over 500 large timber tress from deforestation, 22,000 gallons of water from being wasted, and 55,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted in 2019. “We collect discarded limestone from wherever we can find it, wash it, and ground it into fine powder,” he said.  The powder is then blended with a photodegradable high-density polyethylene resin, which means it can decompose over time with exposure to sunlight, leaving behind calcium carbonate. The 90% calcium 10% resin mixture is then  pressed into small pellets, heated up and pushed through large rollers that flatten them into sheets of paper. “The paper can be as thin as notebook paper or as thick as a cardboard paper,” said Garcia.

Acording to Garcia, the amount of carbon emitted during this process is “about 67% less than making paper from tree pulp.”  Not only is the product sustainable and recyclable, but as a result of it being made of stone it’s more resistant to tears and waterproof.

Karst’s planners start at $40 with their notebooks ranging from $10 for smaller ones to $25 for larger books. Their products are mainly sold online on the company’s website, but they can also be found in nearly 100 stores throughout the UK, US and Australia. 

In addition the commercial sales, Krast has also made a couple corporate sales too. WeWork, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Facebook have begun ordering their notebooks for gifts for new employees and events. The company hopes to get their notebooks into 1,00o stores by the end of 2019. In order to scale up their business and achieve this goal, Garcia and Tse are beginning  to approach investors for the first time.

When the duo first first heard about the Taiwanese company making paper out of stone, they decided to start up their business with $30,000 of their own savings. “We put 99% of it into developing product and a website,” said Garcia. With an extremely limited market budget, the pair turned to facebook for advertisement. “Our initial video reached over 10 million views on Facebook in a few months,” said Garcia. In their first cycle of production, the company only made around 5,000 notebooks. Fast forward 2 years and the company has sold 70,000 notebooks in over 80 countries. 

According to Victoria Villier, a sales associate who overseas inventory for McNally Jackson stationery store in New York City,”They’ve been selling well for us.”  Villier said customers are usually seeking out more eco-friendly options in her store, as environmental impact becomes more of a concern for consumers. “They like Karst notebooks for that reason. Plus, they are waterproof and look beautiful,” she said. Although the company is still in is infancy and the product is still very niche, the duo are currently working towards broadening the products to other areas of the paper market, like cards, ink-jet paper, reams and labels. “This is about much more than just selling something,” said Tse. “We want Stone Paper to be a mainstream, sustainable alternative to an everyday product.We want it to have an impact.”

Industry, Innovation
A new 3D printer called the HARP, created by researchers at Northwestern University, could led to a drastic change in manufacturing in the near future. The HARP or High-Area Rapid Printing can print large scale objects the size of humans, all without comprimising speed or resolution. Most large scale printers suffered from some kind of reduction in speed or resolution in order to achieve the considerable range of the machine, but HARP has promised to no such concessions.

The prototype has a printing rate of around one and half feet per hour with a height of 13 feet and a length and width of 2.5 feet. So you could print an entire 6 foot human replica in about 5 and a half hours.

With the ability to print hard, elastic, or even ceramic parts, the HARP has made variety of potential uses from airplalanes and cars to even the fashion industry. I know fashion and 3D printing sounds like an odd combination but they’re have been a lot of fashion shows dedicated solely to the art.

HARP uses a type of stereolithography, which is a way of 3D printing that involves shining ultraviolet light onto liquid resin turning it init hard plastic. Most stereolithographic 3D printers are currently restricted by heat, but the HARP uses a patent-pending nonstick liquid that constantly cools down the printer. This alone improves the speed by nearly a hundredfold, according to James Hedrick. In addition to that, the component don’t require any extra finishing, sanding or machining.

There has been a lot of discussion on 3D printers upsetting the current molds and warehouses seen in today’s industry, but in the current state of 3D printing, it doesn’t seem very practical. Nevertheless, the HARPs ability to print both large and small parts, while still maintain reasonable speeds could end up replacing on-hand inventory with fully 3D printed on-demand inventory.

According to the researchers, this isn’t just a fantasy. The HARP could be commercially available by early 2021 from a Azul 3D, a company which spun off from the university research into large scale printing.

Wanna learn more about the latest in 3D printing? Check out Livity Technologies’ 3D printed prothetic feet.

A drone capable of installing roof shingles has recently been developed by a team of researchers at the University of Michigan. Using its eight separate rotors, the autonomous craft is able to precisely target a specific nailing point and trigger the mounted nail gun, all without any human interaction.

Equipped with a nail gun and a series of stationary cameras and markers, the drone is able to accurately establish his location and determine the current position for the nail. The team also developed the software used to fire the nail gun. A big challenge surrounding the software was figuring out how much pressure is needed to depress the nail gun muzzle. In order to prevent accidental firing, most nail guns require the user to apply pressure to the nail gun muzzle, so the team had to work around this safety feature while still upholding the drones stability. 

The drone is still in it’s prototyping phase as there are many limitation that face the current model. One key drawback is that the drone actually works slower than an average human roofer. Another constraint is the limited flight time. Since the drone is battery powered and the hardware and nail gun both require a hefty amount of power to operate, the drone has short flight time of 10 minutes. According to Researchers, a tether providing power to the drone could allow it to operate continually.

Roofing is a dangerous, dirty and tedious job. Automated roof installation could help remove humans from this harmful job and maybe in the future, this technology could even be applied to a variety of maintenance tasks for bridges, cell towers or even wind turbines.

Want to learn more about the latest in drone technology? Check out Yates Electrospace Corp’s new Delivery Drone.


A giant autonomous delivery drone with the ability to carry upwards of 1,500 pounds has recently been revealed by Yates Electrospace Corp.

The cargo aircraft, called Silent Arrow GD-2000 includes precise landing, stealth abilities and an enhanced glide ratio. The delivery drone was designed in response to the tactical resupply issues facing the defense market. In addition to tactical resupplies, the drone would be able to provide humanitarian and disaster relief.

Inside the fuselage, the Silent Arrow sports an integrated packaging systems with spring deployed wings. It can be launched via rotorcraft to distribute fuel, cargo or supplies under tight timeframes or critical conditions.

According to Yates Electrospace Corp, it has already signed distribution agreements with over 30 territories. Some territories include the U.K, Brazil, India, South Korea, Israel and the EU

Believing the Silent Arrow to be the next generation of last mile logistics, many startups and even larger and more traditional companies are advancing the development of these delivery drones.

Many other big name vendors like FedEx, Google’sWing, Airbus and Amazon are already working on similar initiatives. UPS is currently seeking FAA approval for its drone parcel delivery services. A numerous amount of startups like Matternet, Zipline, Workhorse Group, Flytrex and Drone Delivery Canada are also throwing their hat into the race, hoping that this new emerging approach to delivery could provide a healthy source of revenue in this new market.

Wanna learn more about the latest in drone technology? Check out how agriculture drones are changing the farming industry




A year ago, a lithium-ion battery facility in Hornsdale, South Australia was able to stabilize the region’s precarious power grid  and saved around $40 million during the process. The facility was able to accomplish this outlandish feat with the help of Tesla’s Powerpack batteries. Thanks to battery storage, global electricity grids are able to better accommodate the fleeting nature of renewable energy sources like solar and wind. But for these renewable resources to work on a large utility scale, they require an enormous amount of battery storage. After the overwhelming success of Hornsdale, which was the world’s largest Lithium-ion battery at the time, Tesla has already begun work on a new battery specifically designed for utility scale projects called Megapack.

Arriving at the site fully assembled, the Megapack aims to provide an easy installation process and greatly reduce the complexity of large-scale battery storage, while still providing up to 3 megawatt hours of storage and 1.5 MW of inverter capacity. According to Tesla, “Using Megapack, Tesla can deploy an emissions-free 250 MW, 1 Gigawatt hour (GWh) power plant in less than three months on a three-acre footprint—four times faster than a traditional fossil fuel power plant of that size.”  The Megapack can also reduce the loss incurred from converting to AC current by connecting directly to the solar energy’s DC output.

In order to monitor and control the Megapack systems, Tesla designed a software called Powerhub, which each system connects to. The system, according to Tesla, is “…an advanced monitoring and control platform for large-scale utility projects and microgrids. Powerhub can also integrate with Autobidder, Tesla’s machine-learning platform for automated energy trading.”  More than 100 GWh of energy has already been dispatched in global electricity markets by Tesla’s customers using Autobidder. Through a combination of server-based and over-the-air software updates, Tesla plans to continue improving the Megapack, much like Tesla’s famous electric vehicles.

A Megapack is currently planned to be installed in the upcoming Moss landing Project with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The Megapack will be able to store excess energy from renewable resources like solar or wind and then disperse that stored energy when the local utility grid can’t provide enough power. This will offer an alternative option to the natural gas “peaker” that is currently used to support the grid’s peak loads.

According to Tesla, “We took everything we know about battery technology to enable the world’s largest energy projects. A 1 Gigawatt hour (GWh) project provides record energy capacity—enough to power every home in San Francisco for 6 hours.

Wanna learn more about Tesla’s endeavors in renewable energy? Check out the Tesla Power Wall.

In 2017, the founders of FarmWise, a Silicon Valley based startup, had an idea for a new method of removing weeds for large farms without the use of chemicals. The result was an autonomous weeding robot that offered a huge benefit to most of the Midwest and is currently working in farms across the United States.

“We wanted to build an automated machine for farmers,” said the co-founder of FarmWise, Thomas Palomares. “We saw the labor challenges, the problems with chemicals and all the regulations around them, and we had an idea to help.” In December of 2017, he and his friend Sébastien Boyer formed their startup and started conducting a seed round of funding. With the 5.7 million dollars they raised, they began to design and build their prototype. The prototype was able to differentiate between weeds and crops as it drove over the field and pull out weeds, leaving the crops unscathed. Once the working prototype was built, they began to conduct the initial test in California.

While the initial tests were a huge success, they started to run into a bit of hurdle. They machines were working perfectly, but they had no way to mass produce them. “We had a big challenge – getting everything ready for a huge scale-up of machine-making,” Palomares said. “That meant all aspects of scaling – not just manufacturing, but support, shipping, hardware, and more as machines hit the fields.”

Through PlanetM, a Michigan based partnership that connects companies with automotive manufactures, FarmWise was able to partner up with Roush Industries, a design and manufacturing firm based in Detroit that has a lot of experience in auto racing. “We’ve been known for many things over time,” said the CEO of Roush, Evan Lyall. “Now we specialize in product development, commercialization, and engineering consultation.” FarmWise’s concept of an automated vehicle wasn’t completely new to Roush. They had previously worked on a self-driving automobile for Google’s Waymo project, about a decade ago. “We have other things in the works in a similar vein as well – but those are confidential,” Lyall said.

Roush was exactly what FarmWise needed. “This was a great opportunity for FarmWise to make use of Roush’s capabilities,” said Lyall. “We can serve as a bridge between low and super-high production volume. As they get big, we can help them move to automated systems, and move their manufacturing to scale.”

“This is a very exciting partnership and exchange of knowledge,” said Palomares. “It’s giving us exposure into what it takes to make long-lasting products for harsh environments. Roush already had an extensive knowledge of what works – and it’s impossible to re-invent everything.”

Another important partnership for FarmWise was with the farmers themselves. “We’ve been working with farmers from day one,” Palomares explained. “We’ve shared what we’re doing and we’ve been getting their feedback on a daily basis. We wanted to make sure we’re building a machine they want, and that they’re willing to pay for.”

The framing partnership was a new experience for Roush. “This is an interesting example of how the world is changing,” Lyall said. “From our end, we’ve seen it before in automotive, aerospace, and defense – the increasing use of automated vehicles. Now we’re seeing it in agriculture.”

“We’re proud of the partnership,” Lyall stated. “It’s great to help make tech come to life quicker, in a way that will benefit all of us.”

As FarmWise begins to scale-up their production, they are conducting a final review of their designs and manufacturing process. Their goal for this year is to produce around a dozen automated weeding machines. “We’ve got their supply chain all set up,” said Lyall. “The scale-up will offer an opportunity to continue to refine it.”

FarmWise is continuing to refine things from their side as well. “This is what it means to bring innovation together with knowledge in a given field,” Palomares said. “We’re building new technology on top of existing things that already work very well. We don’t have to disrupt everything.”

Once they get their autonomous weeder in full production, FarmWise plans to apply their technology to other farming applications. One idea they’re currently considering is automating fertilization for different crops. For the moment, both companies are very pleased with their partnership and how it was able to bring together very different skill sets from very different parts of the country. “This is just a great example of Silicon Valley and the Midwest working together,” said Lyall. “It’s the California technology startup FarmWise bringing their expertise to bear on a common farm problem, and then taking advantage of the industrial knowledge in the Midwest for manufacturing.”


Industry, Innovation

Due to cutting edge technologies that would have resembled something from science fiction to early astronauts, landing humans on another planet may be closer to a reality than we think. NASA has stated that it has plans for a manned mission to Mars, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done and questions that need to be answered to accomplish this feat. These questions aren’t just about how to get there, but more importantly how to live there. NASA believes that 3D printing could be crucial to our success in creating Mars Colony and here’s why.


One of the most important things the astronauts are going to have to build for themselves once they arrive is shelter. Earlier this year, AI Space Factory was award $500,000 by NASA for their design of a structure that could be 3D printed from basalt,   a natural volcanic rock found in abundance on the surface of Mars. When extracted and mixed with a renewable bioplastic obtained from plants in a hydroponic garden, the rock can create a 3D printing filament similar to polylactic acid. The resulting structure would be able to provide protection for all sorts of natural environmental dangers on Mars like violent dust storms, harsh temperature swings, and extreme radiation.


After constructing your 3D printed house, you’ll need to make sure you have a consistent food source. You’ll be able to obtain some nutrients from the hydroponic garden mentioned above, but that won’t be enough to meet all your nutritional needs. Packing enough food and keeping that food fresh for the 32 month space trip and the subsequent years on Mars is an unrealistic task and the dry arid environment of Mars won’t help this problem any further. 3D printing food is still in it’s early stages of development, but with the right advancements, it could be a potential solution to this food shortage issue. Currently, researchers have only been able to create small chocolates and candies, but hopefully in the future, they’ll be able to print a whole meal, helping astronauts get the nutrients they need for their lengthy space trip.


In order for this Mars mission to be a success, We need to plan for any kind of accident or sickness that could arise. Bioprinting has seen some huge growth in the recent years. With bioprinting, astronauts would be able to us bioinks to 3D print artificial organs and other body parts. Currently, researchers are trying to perfect this equipment for us in a low gravity environment.  They’re hoping to be able to replicate everything from skin tissue to bone cartilage. In addition to bioprinting, 3D printing could offer another medical advantage in printing specific medicine or prescription. 


Creating a colony on Mars would take a lot of equipment and that equipment is bound to break, especially on the rough terrain of Mars. This is where additive manufacturing could help out. It wouldn’t seem all too likely for the early stages of the colony, but further down the road it would make sense to bring 3D printers capable of printing with different types of materials and printing in different atmospheric conditions to Mars. These printers could use the planet’s natural resources to print a variety and help solve a lot of spare part and maintenance problems.

Problem Solving 

Regardless of which additive technology you’re using, weather it be additive construction, bioprinting or additive manufacturing, 3D printers are, at their core tools for solving problems. Many companies today have started using these wonderful machines to solve countless problems, like Pfizer Corporation, a pharmaceutical lab in Connecticut. They used their 3D printer for many different uses like creating a fish-food dispenser to help mix the proper amount of fish with the drug they were testing, test tube holders to hold them in specific orientations, a tablet for counting pills that was easier to use the previous tablet they had. They were able to solve problems and make improvements to situations that normally they would have to just accept. Being able to do this on Mars with the hydroponic gardens or rovers would be an incredible tool and there’s no doubt that 3D printing will be insanely valuable to a Mars Colony. 

Wanna find out more about the latest in 3D printers? Learn about how S-Squared 3D Printers made a 500 square foot house using additive construction.


S-Squared 3D printers started out as a desktop 3D printer manufacturing company in 2014. While the company still continues to produce and sell its AFP-1728 and AFP-512 models, shipping about one each month, they recently starting looking into bringing additive manufacturing to the world of construction.

“We met with one of our current partners who wanted to, as we sometimes describe it, spit out a house. We wanted to scale up full force with it.”

Anderson is confident in his teams ability to undertake this additive construction feat. He believes his team has both the construction and engineering skills necessary to solve such a challenging problem. Running a remodeling and construction company for the past 10 years, Andersen has been able to gain valuable construction experience as a contractor. Likewise, James Michel has built over a thousand units over the past 15 years as a residential and commercial contractor. On the engineering side of things, Robert Smith, the co-owner of the company, has built many CNC machines and even developed the company’s original desktop 3D printers. Mario Szczepanski, longtime friend of Robert Smith, has been an engineer for over 35 years, dealing with mechanical, optical and electrical systems.

Switching from printing small plastic to printing a 500 square foot house is no easy task. The main problem is that the plastic components used in 3D printing are incapable of generating a structure of that size in a timely manner. “The entire machine is made out of aluminum and stainless-steel construction,” Andersen stated. “We’re using very accurate parts, linear rails. We’ve developed our own gear ratios to hold up the large gantry.”

SQ3D recently filled a patent for their Autonomous Robotic Construction System. Anderson wasn’t able to go into all the details behind the extruder and cement mixture, due to the proprietary nature of the technology, but he was able to state that they weren’t able to manually mix the cement due to the large quantity and reactivity of the mixture, so they had to use a large volumetric mixer. They also had to modify the cement pump being used too.

The key to additive construction is creating the perfect cement mixture. That’s why SQ3D developed their own mix, to ensure that they got the right drying speed and flowing rate for the mixture. Too fast of a flow rate or too slow of dry time makes it harder for the cement to support the following layers.

Instead of printing the walls and other elements off site and then assembling them on location, like the largest additive construction company WinSun does, SQ3D is concentrating of generating the whole structure at the construction location. After developing its own slicing software, SQ3D is able to create a printable tool path code from a 3D model.  Due to the different printing properties of cement and the industrial scale of the machine, a completely unique and new extruding process was required for the ARCS.

Long Island’s First Fully 3D Printed House 

The structure generated in Long Island is far from being called a “home”. There were no plans for anyone to actually live in it and the structure was already demolished by SQ3D. The structure was a test run for the ARCS to see how well the cement would layer and if the building would hold together once finished and it was a huge success. Not only did the building withstand compression tests of over 6,000 PSI, which is double the amount required for residential houses, it’s also the largest structure the firm has produced. Furthermore, since the concrete is sealed, the structures produced by the ARCS are both fireproof and waterproof.

Since we’re still in the early stages of additive construction, there has yet to be any common place standards put into place for the industry. According to Andersen, we should see some standards being introduced within the next two years and he hopes SQ3D plays some part in the process. Andersen added that they aim to get a trademark for their material infill pattern, which can have a considerable effect on the structural integrity of a 3D printed structure or object.

Automating the Construction Process

Having successfully 3D printed a house, SQ3D is going to be focusing its efforts on automating the construction process further. With the printing process itself already almost completely automated, the company plans to automate the mixing process for the cement next. The firm plans to do this by using integrated sensor in a silo with pump attached to it.

SQ3D believes that additive construction could not only make homes stronger while also using fewer materials, but it could also result in fewer work related injuries and fatalities. By automating the construction process, you could remove the need to have to put workers in danger by only requiring a handful of engineers to oversee the process. “Worldwide, about 3,800 deaths and about 700,000 injuries occur annually in the construction field,” Andersen said. “Those are real lives being affected. Having this whole process automated could prevent .”

Beside furthering the automation process, SQ3D plans to look into different reinforcement techniques, like adding fibers to the concrete to help support it. Down the line, the company is also interested in looking into geopolymers to be used in place of concrete. The reason they want to get rid of concrete all together is because concrete production accounts for 8 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions. To put that in prospective, if it were a country, concrete would be the third largest contributor of CO2 emissions right behind China and the United States.

Guinness World Records is currently assessing the 3D printed home to conclude if the structure is truly the largest building 3D printed on site, but SQ3d has already begun working on an even bigger project. They’re next test is going to be a 1,800 square foot permitted home, which Andersen stated is definitely going to “shatter any 3D printing records.”

Wanna learn more about the latest in 3D printing? Find out what researchers at Ames Laboratory were able to accomplish with additive manufacturing. 

The Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University have partnered together to create a new method to print metal traces of softer materials. The researchers were able to recreate this method multiple times on jello and even on delicate materials like rose petals.

Through undercooled metal technology, the Engineers were able to create this monumental step forward in 3D printing by using microscopic oxide shells that trap the liquid metal below its melting point. In order to fill these infinitesimally small shells, which are only about 10 microns in diameter, the researchers used a tungsten microprobe. When cracked, by ether dissolving them with chemicals or using mechanical pressure, the metal trickles out and solidifies, creating a line of conductive metal.

The metal used inside these tiny capsules is a Field’s Alloy composed of bismuth, indium, and tin. Through vigorous testing, the researchers found that these capsule have been able to create a conductive line on almost everything, from a hard slab of concrete to a small delicate leaf.

The research team believes that this technology could have some astonishing applications in the future, like sensors that monitor crops performance, building integrity or even medical conditions. Some recent tests made by the team of engineers include a remote control created on a piece of paper, electrical contacts for solar cells and a successfully printing on a model of a human brain. Elon Musk’s latest venture, Neuralink, may have some competition when it comes to its brain sewing machine.

What originally began as a teaching exercise three years ago has grown into a fully fledged project, with researchers eagerly trying to figure out the limits of this technology and what to print it on next. Their next big tests they’re planning to print on are ice cubes and biological tissues, with he later hopefully being less crucial tissue.

Wanna learn more about the latest in 3D printing? Find out how S-Squared 3D printers 3D printed a 500 square foot house using additive construction.


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