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3D Printers and 4 ways they may change the world

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3D Printers and 4 ways

Seemed like it was just yesterday when 3D printers were the talk of the town, hyped to the maximum, the next big thing, a technological wonder that was poised to revolutionize our world like never before. However, the fire seems to have burned out pretty quickly as most now think that these 3D printers are only suitable for printing miniature action figures for geeks.

Yes, its is known that these machines can do a lot more than just print action figures, but do their boons far outweigh their bane. Here are some talking points on potential harmful consequences of using 3D printers:

1) Energy-Hogging – They consume about 100 times more energy to melt plastic and mold it than injection molding.

2) Air Emission – The emission of unhealthy toxins from burning of plastics resulting in environmental issues and health risks.

3) Plastic Reliance – When the world is moving towards a plastic free age, ironically, the devices is centered around the usage of plastic for printing purposes.

4) Manufacturing Impact – Introduction of these printers in the car or aviation manufacturing industries to replace the human element will result in loss of jobs for manual labor.
For every bad thing that can be said about anything, there can definitely be a good thing that can be said about it too. Let us see how 3D printers can help change the world for the better.

Changing the way rhinos are being poached:-
A San Francisco-based startup has come up with an interesting concept to curb the poaching of rhino horns. Coupling the usage of 3D printers and the advancements in biotechnology, they are attempting to fabricate rhino horns from not synthetic materials but organic matter, metals, minerals, proteins and in cases even actual rhino DNA. The idea is to sell these artificial rhino horns to the said poachers ( to cover the cost of printing it ) who then go on to sell them in various international markets to make money and feed their families. This way, the rhinos are left unharmed and the market eventually dies out.

Tracking poachers using turtle egg shells:-
Not as big as a rhino but just as endangered, turtles have a huge market for their goods. Turtle eggs are stolen and sold for huge money with one egg going for a whopping $150. Paso Pacifico, an environmental conservation organization has taken the initiative to safeguard these turtle eggs from being poached and sold. They proposed to use 3D printers to print fake eggs, equip them with GSM and mixing them with the real eggs so as to enable the authorities to track their movement and uncover the sellers and their markets.

Medicine and health care:-
While we are on the topic of turtles and their safety, here’s another usage of the 3D printer, that is soon to be adopted by almost all veterinary hospitals around the world.

The image displayed below is of Akut-3 a loggerhead sea turtle that got struck on the jaw by a boat’s propeller. It was rescued by an organization called Dekamer.
A CT Scan of his skull showed what needed to be done, and BTech Innovations a company that specializes in custom implants created this printed beak and jaw made out of titanium for the wounded turtle. Now, Akut-3 is swimming freely deep in the ocean with his almost perfect printed jaw.

Self Service Dentistry:-
From turtles onto humans, we go on to the case of one Mr. Amos Dudley, a digital design student from New Jersey who decided to implement all that he learned about his own treatment. Choosing not to wear braces as a child left Amos with a crooked smile. Being broke but having unlimited access to all the high-end equipment from his lab at college, Amos decided to take things into his own hands.

Some cheap alginate powder that gave him a mold of his teeth along with a 3D laser scan that could translate imagery into existence which finally was fed into a 3D printer, he was able to print a model of his braces. At the cost of $60, he now has a fully functional set of bracers that are doing wonders for him. This is clearly an indication that 3D printing can be widely used in dentistry for treating the untreatable.

3D printers capable of outputting in colour and multiple materials already exist and will continue to improve to a point where functional products will be able to be output. With effects on energy use, waste reduction, customization, product availability, medicine, art, construction and sciences, 3D printing will change the manufacturing world as we know it.

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Amazon Opens Automated Grocery Store – Amazon Go

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Amazon.com Inc., the global ecommerce giant will launch the first of its kind supermarkets without checkouts, human or self service on Monday in Seattle. According to BBC, this revolutionary supermarket, Amazon Go, has been tested by Amazon staff for the past year.

Amazon Go store relies on cameras and sensors to track shoppers and maintain a list of what shoppers remove from the shelves and what they put back. Making cash registers and checkout lines superfluous, customers buying products from the Go store will be billed after leaving the store using credit cards on file.

A row of gates guards the entrance to the store and shoppers can only enter after they scan their Amazon Go app. The 1,800 square foot mini market is packed with shelves of food and will be open from 7 A.M. To 9 P.M. Monday to Friday. Speaking about the newest venture, the Vice President of Technology, Dilip Kumar said, “(the idea behind Amazon go is to) push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning and to create an effortless experience for customers.

According to Amazon, the technology used in the Amazon Go store is so accurate that the sensors can detect minute changes and distinguish between multiple people standing side by side at a shelf. The tracking is precise enough to detect which customer picked up a yogurt or a cupcake and track which customers are simply browsing. Technology website GeekWire reported, the system also knows when people pick up items and put them back in case customers simply wanted to read the label. While the company has remained tight lipped about the technology it’s using in its sensors and tracking devices, can see and identify every item in the store, without attaching a special chip to every item.

Amazon further added the technology will not replace employees but streamline the shopping process. Associates and employees will be put on different tasks including restocking shelves and helping customers troubleshoot any technical problems and help customers find items. According to people who have tested the store, Amazon sends an electronic receipt for purchases only a few minutes after walking out of the store. The Head of Amazon Go, Gianna Puerini, speaking about the technology said, “This technology didn’t exist, it was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning.” The company has already released official Amazon Go apps on iOS and Android and customers can use their existing Amazon credentials to log in to the Amazon Go app.

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Bitcoin Slips Below $ 13,000

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Bitcoin, the world’s fastest growing cryptocurrency fell more than 21% on Friday dropping to $ 12,191.80 as of 3:47 P.M. in Hong Kong. The value of the cryptocurrency fell down as much as 38% from its peak of $ 19,511.

Despite the steep decline in value, the digital currency is still up in value by more than 1,100% since the beginning of the year. According to coinmarketcap.com, with Bitcoin’s decline in value, other cryptocurrencies also plunged with Ethereum losing as much as 26% over the past 24 hours.

On Sunday, Bitcoin rose to as much as $ 19,666 in the lead up to exchange giant CME Group’s launch of bitcoin futures. Nevertheless, the currency seems to have lost steam post the launch. The current plunge comes amid growing signs of mania among regulators and investors for anything cryptocurrency related.

However, this is not the first time the cryptocurrency saw a steep decline in value. In November this year, Bitcoin tumbled by almost 30% in 4 days, falling to $ 5,555 from $ 7,888. Similarly, in September, the virtual currency fell by 40% to $ 2,972 from $ 4,979. Overall, in 2017, Bitcoin soared about 19 times reaching bubble territory.

Many policymakers and market analysts spurred caution and alarm calling all forms of cryptocurrencies ‘dangerous’ due to the lack of regulations. Indian market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) also issued a warning against all Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) claiming Bitcoins or any such cryptocurrencies, is not an approved product by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) or any other agency. China was one of the first countries to ban all local cryptocurrencies exchanges and tradings. Post China’s decision to ban ICOs, South Korea also banned raising money through ICOs in an effort to protect investors from fraud by the use of any forms of virtual currencies.

Although CME and its rival Cboe Global Market’s move to list bitcoin futures has given the digital currency some perceived legitimacy, a majority of the policymakers are still on the fence and remain skeptical.

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Flipkart To Launch Artificial Intelligence Unit, AIForIndia

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After launching the first data analytics brand, Billion, Flipkart is all set to create an Artificial Intelligence unit called AIForIndia in order to strengthen its business offerings.

The ecommerce giant is looking at expanding its services by investing millions of dollars into the venture and has already initiated its hiring process. Flipkart is looking to hire AI specialists for this particular project and is considering hiring people from the IIT sector for the project.

The AIForIndia project will be headed by Chief Data Scientist, Mayur Datar, Bansal and Flipkart’s Chief Executive Offidcer, Kalyan Krishnamurthy. The company is expected to reap benefits of the new technologies to solve issues both on the consumer and supply sides.

Not just in India, this ecommerce giant is also looking at expanding their reach into the United States as well. Flipkart has been on an acquiring spree since earlier this year when it acquired Silicon Valley based F7 Labs. According to reports, F7 Labs has already started working on an AI project called Mira.

Apart from this, Flipkart has also tied up with Microsoft in order to leverage its position in the AI and machine learning space. This is being done in order to better understand the world of machines and t0 foster a better relationship with sales.

Flipkart has been making a lot of new additions, thereby securing its position as a leading ecommerce platform. To make matters interesting, Flipkart’s fashion arm, Myntra, has started using these new technologies in order to sell products more efficiently.

Through this artificial intelligence process, customers can order online using their voice only. The ecommerce giant is all geared up to double down its work with artificial intelligence technologies, across operations ranging from conversational search, visual similarity, better last mile delivery, fraud detection, personalization to warehousing.

Right now, the use of AI is moderate. There are some interesting projects in the marketplace, customer support, search and personalization. You will see much more innovation coming out of Flipkart in the next year…this is going to be a big game changer for us,” said the Executive Chairman of Flipkart, Sachin Bansal.

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