World’s first 3D fabric printer to make future clothing custom, seamless and a perfect fit

In the future we could be both better and more uniquely dressed, thanks to the development of a 3D fabric printer; the first of its kind.

Although not yet ready for large-scale production, the Electroloom is an exciting prospect, enabling its users to design and print seamless clothing that perfectly fits their frame.

The printer, which is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter and looks set to comfortably exceed its goal, uses a technique called field-guided fabrication to produce garments.

This takes the form of a CAD-developed 3D mold placed inside the printer, which the printer deposits solid fibres onto, building up the final garment.

The fibres themselves are shipped as a liquid solution, but the printer converts them using an electrospinning process, before guiding them onto the mold using an electric field.

Surprisingly, the team behind Electroloom say the fibres are a custom polyester/cotton blend, although presumably there are some additional elements that enable it to to be shipped in a liquid form.

Images courtesy of Electroloom.

Images courtesy of Electroloom.

At present, the printer doesn’t exactly pose a threat to the mainstream fashion industry. The garments that the Electroloom team have used to demonstrate its capabilities – a shirt, a tank top and a beanie – are all plain and fairly unfinished looking, and the device is targeted at makers rather than fashionistas.

However, this very early days. The 3D fabric printer is currently being offered through Kickstarter as an alpha developer kit, priced at $5,000, and it will be very interesting to see how it is used by developers when they get their hands on it.

On the campaign page the team also highlight that there will be later versions of the printer based in how the first version is received.

“Electroloom is still in its infancy; we’ve only been working on the technology for about a year and a half,” the team said.

“This dev kit launch with our alpha units is so that we can start to open a feedback loop outside of our own team.”

Future additions are likely to include additional fabric colours – makers using the first version will need to dye the fabric themselves once they’ve made their garment – and fabrics, with the Electroloom team already working on experimental silk and acrylic blend alternatives.

Assuming their first version is well received and improved, future versions could have a profound impact on the way we dress.

Standardised clothing sizes leave many people stuck with ill-fitting garments and generic, carbon copy styles. but a 3D clothing printer could enable people to wear clothes that fit perfectly and designed to their own personal tastes.

If a device such as this were to become common, it would transform what we wear for the better, prompting currently impossible fashions to become common, and making stylish, well-fitting clothing within the reach of the masses.

DJI’s First Drone Arena in Tokyo to Open This Saturday

Consumer drone giant DJI will open its first Japanese drone arena in the city of Tokyo this Saturday, providing a space for both hardened professionals and curious newcomers to hone their flying skills.

The arena, which covers an area of 535 square metres, will not only include a large flying area complete with obstacles, but also offer a store where visitors can purchase the latest DJI drones and a technical support area where drone owners can get help with quadcopter issues.

The hope is that the arena will allow those who are curious about the technology but currently lack the space to try it out to get involved.

“As interest around our aerial technology continues to grow, the DJI Arena concept is a new way for us to engage not just hobbyists but also those considering this technology for their work or just for the thrill of flying,” said Moon Tae-Hyun, DJI’s director of brand management and operations.

“Having the opportunity to get behind the remote controller and trying out the technology first hand can enrich the customer experience. When people understand how it works or how easy it is to fly, they will discover what this technology can do for them and see a whole new world of possibilities.”

Images courtesy of DJI

In addition to its general sessions, which will allow members of the public to drop by and try their hand at flying drones, the arena will also offer private hire, including corporate events. For some companies, then, drone flying could become the new golf.

There will also be regular events, allowing pros to compete against one another, and drone training, in the form of DJI’s New Pilot Experience Program, for newcomers.

The arena has been launched in partnership with Japan Circuit, a developer of connected technologies, including drones.

“We are extremely excited to partner with DJI to launch the first DJI Arena in Japan,” said Tetsuhiro Sakai, CEO of Japan Circuit.

“Whether you are a skilled drone pilot or someone looking for their first drone, we welcome everyone to come and learn, experience it for themselves, and have fun. The new DJI Arena will not only serve as a gathering place for drone enthusiasts but also help us reach new customers and anyone interested in learning about this incredible technology.”

The arena is the second of its kind to be launched by DJI, with the first located in Yongin, South Korea, and detailed in the video above. .

Having opened in 2016, the area has attracted visitors from around the world, demonstrating serious demand for this type of entertainment space.

If the Tokyo launch goes well, it’s likely DJI will look at rolling out its arena concept to other cities, perhaps even bringing the model to the US and Europe.

For now, however, those who are interested can book time at the Tokyo arena here.

Commercial Human Spaceflight Advances Prompt Calls for Space Safety Institute

Commercial human spaceflight has been a long-held dream, but now it is finally poised to become a reality. Companies including Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are inching ever closer to taking private citizens into space, and there are serious plans for spaceports in several parts of the world, including Hawaii, the US, and Scotland, the UK.

But while the industry is advancing, the legal side of this fledgling commercial space industry remains underdeveloped, leading to calls for the development of an organisation to establish a framework for the safe operation of spaceports for human commercial spaceflights.

Writing in the journal New Space, Mclee Kerolle, from the United States International Institute of Space Law in Paris, France, has proposed the establishment of a Space Safety Institute recognised by the US congress and the United Nations.

This institute would “develop, enforce and adopt standards of excellence”, allowing the industry to develop while protecting it from liability and insurance risks.

“Currently, no international regulatory body exists to regulate the operation of spaceports,” he wrote. “This is unfortunate because while the advent of commercial human spaceflight industry is imminent, a majority of the focus from the legal community will be on regulating spaceflights and space access vehicles.

“However, the regulation of spaceports should be viewed in the same light as the rest of the commercial human spaceflight industry.”

The article focuses particularly on the establishment of a spaceport at the Kona International Airport in Keahole, Hawaii. At present, the spaceport’s development is subject to regulation by the Federal Aviation Authority, however there are aspects to spaceport development that do not apply to conventional aviation operations.

A spacesuit design for commercial flights developed by SpaceX. Featured image: SpaceX’s proposed spaceport for its conceptual interplanetary transport system. All images courtesy of SpaceX

The institute would be designed to first and foremost ensure safety within the industry, so it would be important, according to Kerolle, to ensure it was made up of individuals with expertise in the field, rather than bureaucrats.

“To make sure that this flexibility is inherent in a Space Safety Institute, the organization should be composed of individuals within the industry as opposed to government officials who are not familiar with the commercial human spaceflight industry,” he wrote.

“As a result, this should protect the commercial human spaceflight industry to some liability exposure, as well as promote growth in the industry to ensure the industry’s survival.”