The latest concept car by EDAG set to hit the 2015 Geneva Motor Show (via EDAG Engineering AG)
A few years ago 3D printing a car would have seemed insane, but it seems this is going to become a mundane process in the new concept car industry that could have consumer printed cars out on the market within a few years time. This latest model, seen in the photo above is called 'Light Cocoon' and is going to be featured at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. EDAG, a German firm that specializes in wacky concept cars is naming this model as 'the ultimate in future lightweight construction,' according to their December 2014 press release.
The body is 3D printed using a defused deposition modeling technique. Any unnecessary non-load bearing parts of the frame have been removed and the car frame which remains is tree-like in structure. The whole concept is based upon a leaf which has supporting veins supporting layers of epidermis and mesophyll. In the case of the Light Cocoon, the 3D printed frame is the veins of the leaf, and the fabric covering is the epidermis. So, this car not only takes away most of the traditional framing of a car, but it also uses weatherproof, lightweight fabric instead of a traditional car body.
The fabric is called Texapore Softshell and is sturdy, weatherproof, and weights one-forth the weight of standard copy paper. In essence, this car should be so lightweight, it may be able to fly one day. This isn't the first fabric covered concept car, but it is the first to use 3D printing techniques for the frame. However, with all this 3D printing, one begins to wonder what we should be doing about the waste. Getting rid of synthetics like plastic is hard because they take between 20 to 1000 years to decompose, and will be sure to block rivers and kill animals in the meantime. While 3D printing has made it easier for consumers to create their own plastic extruded toys and do-dads, it has also made it easier to create more plastic waste. Finally, a group of microbiologists and designers decided to do something about it as a group they call Livin Studios.
The 'Fungi Mutarium' created by Livin Studios designers and microbiologists (via Livin Studio)
Livin Studios has created what they are calling a 'Fungi Mutarium' which is one of the coolest and inventive ways of decomposing plastics I've ever seen.
Their 'Fungi Mutarium' is an invention that creates edible mushrooms, which grow and thrive by eating plastics: essentially breaking down and decomposing plastics in a matter of months instead of centuries.
The current 'Fungi Mutarium' is a glass dome that houses pods made of agar, sugar and starch that have small pieces of plastic inside (to serve as food for the mushrooms). Mycelia (mushroom parts) are then mixed with liquid and dropped inside of the plastic-filled pods. As the mushroom grows, it eats the pod and the plastic within a matter of months finally resulting in edible Mycelia mushrooms that have a neutral taste.
Their current project can only decompose small bits of plastic within a few months, meaning that they group is planning on condensing the amount of time it takes to complete the process by altering the dome environment or genetically modifying the mushrooms themselves. If Livin Studios could gain funding and successfully scale this 'Fungi Mutarium' idea, they could solve the issue of plastic waste for good and provide a plentiful food source.
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