The health care field is already benefiting from 3D printing even though progress on printing of functional human organs is slow in coming. Five of the top advances with the technology include biomaterials and customized medical implants.
Boeing has been tapped by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to work on the Experimental Spaceplane program. Boeing will design the XS-1 hypersonic aircraft capable of low Earth orbit, combining the capabilities of a rocket and airplane.
While a droid like 1987's "RoboCop" won't be hitting the streets soon, robotic policing is beginning to take shape. A Chinese robot can recognize the facial features of wanted criminals and track them, while a robot in Dubai carries out menial policing tasks, and the Democratic Republic of Congo has robots directing traffic.
University of California at Davis graduates Arshia Firouzi and Gurkern Sufi are lab testing a single-cell electroporator for creating transgenic organisms, and the device could accelerate the pace of animal and human research. The device sends electrical pulses into embryos, creating pores through which a gene-editing agent diffuses.
Biotech startup Stem Pharm is building on research being done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison focused on the development of biomaterials to support the growth of stem cells. The materials could be used to expand induced pluripotent stem cells and iPSC-derived cells, biomedical engineering professor Bill Murphy said.
Lorraine Campbell's third-grade class at The Green Vale School in Old Brookville, N.Y., has been using 3D printing and a tutorial by Enabling the Future to make prosthetic hands for children around the world. "It's for kids who don't have a part of their hand, so it's helping them, because we already have our own hand," said Sofia, 9, one of Campbell's pupils.
Scientists and engineers are using advanced fabrication techniques and state-of-the-art sensors to create responsive prosthetic arms and hands, but a lack of sensory feedback capabilities and underpowered electromagnetic actuators remain limiting factors, says roboticist Jason Wheeler. Robotics startup Syntouch has created software for reflexive subroutines that work with tactile sensors to control aspects of grip and have put them in prosthetic hands being tested by veterans.
Avoiding difficult conversations with employees or colleagues can only lead to further problems. Leadership coach Joel Garfinkle offers pointers on how to lessen the discomfort, emphasizing the need to show respect and listen to the other person.