Paleontologists plan to print robotic dinosaurs with 3D printers

We've already told you why you need a 3D printer. Still not sold 3D printing is the future? Researchers at Drexel University plan to print robotic dinosaurs cast from real fossils to aid them in their studies.

Drexel University's Dr. Kenneth Lacovara says that he's joining forces with mechanical engineer Dr. James Tangorra to create robotic dinosaurs that can help them learn more about how dinosaurs moved.

Lacovara went on to say that today's current methods for studying dinosaur movement is largely "guesswork and common sense."

With 3D printers, replica dinosaurs would be created and any inconsistencies from fossilization would be recreated and simulated for more accurate findings.

When working with enormous dinosaur fossils, Lacovara said, it's simply physically impossible to manipulate the bones to test theories about mechanics and movement. That's why scaled-down replicas that preserve the exact shape and proportion of the bones can help. Researchers can also digitally reshape the models to correct for changes that may have occurred over millions of years of fossilization and compression.

Printing a robotic dinosaur isn't going to be a cakewalk; it's going to take more than a lunch break.

"It's kind of like Star Trek technology, where you can press a button and the object pops out," Lacovara said. A six-inch model of a dinosaur bone can be printed in a few hours using current technology.

Now that we know the two aren't going to be unleashing Jurassic Park on humanity, we can all put our shotguns away.

Lacovara and Tangorra hope to have a working robotic dinosaur limb printed out by the end of the year, with a complete robotic sauropod dinosaur completely within one to two years.

Via Drexel

(Thanks Jacky)

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