In April, Horizon learns about devices that can print liquefied food, machines to make personalised spectacles, and the research that is paving the way for the printing of implants using live cells.
We look at the role of 3D printing in personalised healthcare, including made-to-measure spectacles and insoles that fit a patient’s feet, and technology that could one day enable doctors to 3D print implants using the body’s own cells.
Consultant Dr Phil Reeves gives his views on how Europe can build the momentum required to turn 3D printing into mass-scale personalised production, and lawyer Joren De Wachter explains why 3D printing has new implications for copyright and intellectual property laws.
Horizon has also produced an interactive timeline, based on the EU’s first 3D printing roadmap, which looks into the far future of 3D printing. To find out whether that future includes a Star Trek-style replicator, we recorded an interview with Marcel Slot, the man who coordinated the roadmap project.
Using light as an energy source, photosynthetic microalgae can be used to produce products like biofuels and cosmetics. But algae grown in a reactor block out the light on which they feed. New reactor designs could solve this problem and help the industry move forward.
3D printing is poised to transform the world as we know it. Consumer goods will be personalised and produced on demand, while manufacturers will be able to use 3D printing to come up with radical new designs for everyday objects. But how will this happen, and when?
Copyright law will struggle to be relevant for 3D-printed material, according to Joren De Wachter, an intellectual property strategist who advises companies and investors on the best way to use, understand and value the intellectual property of 3D-printed goods.
Made-to-measure glasses would be more comfortable than normal ones, look better and work more effectively, according to one of a group of research projects that are developing ways to 3D print healthcare products on demand.
Dr Phil Reeves, managing director of Econolyst, a global 3D printing consultancy, believes research needs to be coordinated across the EU to push forward 3D printing and give us mass-personalised goods made locally, on demand.
With around half a million species of insects reported to be at risk of extinction and studies already showing a large decline in abundance, this month Horizon looks at what reduced insect biodiversity means for us – and what we can do about it. We speak to rove beetle expert Dr Alexey Solodovnikov about the services insects provide, from waste disposal and pollination to monitoring climate change and providing information about a new pandemic. We find out how scientists hope to cut the use of pesticides – one of the big culprits for reducing insect diversity – with new ways of pest control. We look at how efforts to boost urban green space in Europe’s cities is impacting insect life and we ask whether people’s attitudes to insects affect conservation efforts.
The coronavirus pandemic rattled our supply chains, putting them under intense pressure and forcing many to become aware of these complex systems that bring us food, medicine and other goods. Was 2020 a wake-up call to rethink supply chains? Or have they proved more robust than we feared and should continue as business as usual? In February, we ask whether today’s supply chains are due for reconfiguration. We speak to Dr Tessa Avermaete, a bioeconomist at KU Leuven in Belgium, about why short and local is not always better – or more sustainable – when it comes to food supply. We look at how medical supply chains can be maintained or even set up during a crisis situation, and at the environmental and social impacts of Europe’s supply chains on the rest of the world. And we look at how, in the future, goods from food to furniture could be transported according to new concept called the ‘physical internet’, where logistics mimics how information travels through the internet.
Insects are vital to the health of our planet but they can also reveal a lot about climate change and help us fight future vector-borne disease outbreaks, says Alexey Solodovnikov, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, who runs the rove beetle-dedicated Solodovnikov Lab and is a curator at the Natural History Museum of Denmark.
The earliest signs of alkaptonuria are often subtle and harmless, like a diaper stained black. However, over the years, this rare genetic disease can lead to a lifetime of surgery. Now, after 20 years of research, a not-so-new drug can offer relief for thousands of patients worldwide.
Dr Alexey Solodovnikov on why we need a less biased view of the animal kingdom.
Nitisinone approval brings relief for people with alkaptonuria.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.