Adidas Made a 3D-Printed Sneaker out of Ocean Waste

Two of adidas’ most cutting edge innovations just came together with the introduction of the Parley for the Oceans Futurecraft midsole.

This concept merges the Parley for the Oceans Boost sneaker, an environmentally friendly design constructed entirely of reclaimed ocean waste, with the brand’s 3d-printed Futurecraft 3D midsole. It’s a natural pairing that could very well prove to be the future of footwear, and it’s only the beginning of what adidas has planned in its ongoing push for sustainability.

“The industry can’t afford to wait for directions any longer. Together with the network of Parley for the Oceans, we have started taking action and creating new sustainable materials and innovations for athletes,” adidas exec Eric Liedtke said. “The 3D-printed ocean plastic shoe midsole stands for how we can set new industry standards if we start questioning the reason of what we create.”

Going forward, adidas is taking even more steps to eliminate ocean pollution for good. For starters, the brand plans to stop the use of plastic bags in its stores, a process that has already begun and will be complete by early 2016. It’s also pledged to stop using plastic microbeads in any adidas-branded body care products by the end of the year.

There’s no word yet on when, or even if, the Parley for the Oceans Futurecraft 3-D sneaker will be made available to the public, but we’ll be the first to let you know. In the meantime, check out a clip of adidas employees volunteering at the Parley Ocean School last month below.


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Mona Lisa 3DP – Unseen Art Project

3D printing the famous classical paintings like the Mona Lisa to make them accessible to visually impaired and blind, this is the brilliant idea of the Unseen Art Project. The great advantage of this project created by the Finnish designer Marc Dillon, based in Helsinki, is to be easily reproducible thanks to the technology of 3D printing, enabling museums around the world to offer this experience to the visually impaired visitors. The Unseen Art Project is currently being funded on Indiegogo.










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3D printing of human organs is no longer science fiction

  • CARL BASS, President and CEO, Autodesk
    CARL BASS, President and CEO, Autodesk

Biggest hurdle now is regulation, not technology, says Autodesk CEO

3D printing of human organs will no longer be the stuff of science fiction, but a reality in the next few years, with kidneys and bladders expected to be printed first.

Also known as Additive Manufacturing (AM), 3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional products by using layering materials, such as plastic powder, metals or liquids, utilising a computer. This has already evolved to make human organs, a move that would mark the biggest breakthrough for organ transplantation.

“We are certainly being able to grow biological things, but the biggest hurdle is the regulation and not technology.

“If you talk to researchers, they would say it is possible to print identical biological tissues within five years,” said Carl Bass, President and Chief Executive Officer, Autodesk.

“We are also seeing a fair amount of stuff where they are doing mechanical implants, not really biological tissues but things like prosthetic devices. I think in the next few years you will see 3D printing of human organs,” he said.

On its part, Autodesk recently launched a software package for 3D printing of orthopaedic implants. The US-based design technology company is also in talks with a number of firms to provide its software for 3D organ printing, though Bass declined to name them. “Bladders and kidneys are the easiest to make. This (3D printing of organs) is now less science fiction and more of science fact,” Bass said.

No central registry

Recently, certain companies forayed into 3D printing of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) strands (with only 30 per cent success) and even stem cells. Body fluids such as blood could also be made in the future, he added.

At present, there is no central registry in India that maintains a record of patients awaiting organ transplant.

While the country is in the process of building one, every State maintains its own records. According to the Tamil Nadu Network for Organ Sharing, a registry maintained by the State government, there are 5,342 patients waiting for kidney, 480 for liver, 101 for heart and 49 for lungs.

Hurdles remaining

The hurdles for 3D printing are that it is “too slow, too cumbersome and too difficult to use”, said Bass, who has been the company’s CEO since 2006.

The biggest challenges are speed and size, he added.

AM is also driving major innovations across engineering, manufacturing, art, education and medicine, and is used across a variety of sectors such as aerospace, mechanics and high-performance automobiles.

(The writer was in Tokyo at the invitation of Autodesk.)


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Nike Sneakers can be printed in the future at Home


Imagine a future where campouts for a pair of exclusive limited edition sneakers will be looked upon as a strange quirk of human behaviour in the past, thanks to the ability to create a coveted pair of sneakers in the comfort of your own home thanks to 3D printing. That’s where we might be headed with what Nike COO Eric Sprunk hinted at while speaking at last weekend’s GeekWire Summit in Seattle. ”Do I envision a future where we might still own the file from an IP perspective – you can’t just have anyone making a Nike product – and have it manufactured in your own home or we do it for you at our store?” said Sprunk. “Yeah, that’s not that far away.” This, following previous efforts by Nike in the burgeoning field of 3D printing, such as the Vapor HyperAgility “concept cleat” unveiled last year. Watch the video of the entirety of Sprunk’s talk below.



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New Balance Sneakers printed in 3D


If you want to be on the CUTTING EDGE of technology, especially when it comes to sneakers, you have to be doing some 3D printing. That’s just how it goes. You want to be IN THE CONVERSATION? You better have some 3D printed soles on the release calendar soon. Nike has said it, Adidas has already shown it off and now New Balance is in the game as well. The first release, the running shoes seen here, will hit retail in April 2016. New Balance also says that some of the previous efforts in 3D printing in the sneaker world will be put to shame with the advancements it has made here, as the competitors are “rigid and heavy” and “not appropriate for running.” While we don’t run all that much (surfing the ‘net is our preferred method of exercise), we still want some comfort in our game-changing technological advancements. Hopefully NB will be able to port over some of its foam technology to the lifestyle sneakers. Imagine a 997 with a bubbly, extremely supple sole like this and the otherworldly levels of comfort that would come along with it. Dreamy.




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Edmond Wong & Stratasys create stunning B+ stool

Hong Kong based designer Edmond Wong has collaborated with Stratasys to produce a visually stunning 3D printed stool, made with both 3D printed components and salvaged bamboo. The partially 3D printed seat, called the ‘B+ stool’, was designed for “Create Outside the Grid”, a Hong Kong exhibition organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), to showcase engineering and mechanics in bamboo scaffolding.

The majority of the B+ stool was made from salvaged bamboo, collected from around Hong Kong. Though bamboo scaffolding is on the decline, discarded pieces from construction sites are easy to find around the busy metropolis. The bamboo section of Wong and Stratasys’ creation is complemented by extra 3D printed parts, which the designers have termed “buds”, for the seat and feet. The internal wall thickness of the 3D printed buds is similar to that of the bamboo, a feature emphasised by the 3D printed components’ transparency gradation. The uppermost part of the seat bud is completely transparent, with the bud being almost entirely opaque at the lowermost section, which connects to the bamboo legs.

“Bamboo is one of our favorite materials perhaps because it is very ‘Hong Kong’,” Edmond Wong Studios explains. “It’s efficient, versatile and prompt in action. While bamboo is always remembered by its slender appearance, we are intrigued by its internal structure- largely hollow with diaphragm walls at intervals and changing stem wall thickness, resonating the beauty of a high-rise structure, the icon of our city.”

“We are going to reveal the internal beauty of bamboo in our upcoming project “Create Outside the Grid” -an upcycling project organized by HKTDC. With the generous sponsorship of Stratasys, the world’s leading 3D printing solution company, we are able to combine the most advanced technology with bamboo, a material with thousands years of history.”

“Create Outside the Grid” is part of the IDT Expo, organised by HKTDC, which will take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre between 3-5 December.


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Sustainable House using large 3D printing

I first met Sofoklis Giannakopoulos at 3D Printshow London, around this time last year, and it seems like an eternity has passed. There, he showed me the early stages of his research into sustainable materials (primarily soil) that could be extruded by a Kuka robotic arm to build housing structures. So much has happened since, and many new achievements have been accomplished in the fascinating field of house 3D printing, but they all come down to one fundamental aspect: the proper materials.


At the time Sofoklis, who has been leading the Pylos Project at Barcelona’s IAAC University (the same institution of which the FabLab Barcelona is an integral part), was in the early phase of his research, which began in collaboration with Enrico Dini of D-Shape, one the the first visionaries of the 3D printed house concept. What he showed me then was an incredibly hard block of soil, which, he explained, could be used for construction and had mechanical properties comparable to those of reinforced cement.

Now, the Pylos Project for large-scale 3D printing has come into its own, investigating the possibility of on site additive manufacturing and fabrication with local and 100% natural materials. The idea of using locally sourced materials for construction, incidentally, is the same proposed by WASP, the Italian company that recently presented its 12-meter-tall Big Delta 3D printer for construction.


The main difference between the two projects is that WASP first focused on the sustainability of the technology and has now begun to investigate the ideal materials. Pylos, on the other hand, used a Kuka Robot solely to rely on its mechanical capabilities, while researching the ideal material’s composition and density.

Both projects, however, come to the same conclusion that “this material can not be other than soil.” As the Pylos team explains on the IAAC website: “The project focuses on the natural properties of soil … The advantages of an earth – soil structure are primarily related to both the environment and economy, being secure and friendly to our environment. Soil also offers the benefits of natural insulation, fire protection, air circulation, low first cost, 100% recyclable structures, stiffness, great strength, thermal flywheel effect, low greenhouse emissions, regulating the climate and providing a healthy Indoor environment.”

Now, the project has grown to the point that Sofoklis was able to build several large-sized structures as proofs of concept. They start at 930 mm and one is as tall as two meters. All are defined by the beautiful and curved geometry that the additive process can create more easily than sharp angles, hard, straight walls, and sharp, right corners. Seeing the robot in the video above extrude the soil and create the structures is almost mesmerising.

Sofoklis’ project could turn out to be of fundamental importance to many of the house 3D printer projects that have emerged over the past year, many of which aim to solve the growing environmental and affordable housing availability crisis that is ongoing and will continue to worsen at the current rates of human development. Pylos focuses on studying the behavior of the soil when mixed with other ingredients, towards a better understanding of the material, and potential composites. According to the Pylos team, the material results obtained through the development of the first phase of this research project are extremely promising and could lead to a new material (96% made of soil) that has 3 times higher tensile strength than industrial hard clay.


On the Pylos website there is a quote from noted Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy, who pioneered “appropriate technology” for building in Egypt, especially by working to re-establish the use of mud brick (or adobe) as opposed to western building designs and lay-out:

Ironically, most public housing in the world today is done without the cooperation of either the architect or the society. It is a bureaucratic decision built by contractors, wherever is horizontal or vertical, it almost immediately becomes a slum. It is perhaps the final irony of our age. It costs more to produce this form of ugliness and that we will be driven toward better, more beautiful housing simply because we cannot afford any other kind.

I find this same exact argument could fit into several different applications of 3D printing, starting from (or returning to) the Earth.



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