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Engineering by Design: 3D Scan Your Animal Skull for Printable Jewelry

Skull-based 3D printed jewelry; flexible and printable electronics using carbon-based materials; and the new high-powered electric bike on the block.

Affordable e-Bikes Pop the Best Wheelies

This week, Boston-based start-up Lectro has announced its first electric bicycle designed to fit a more affordable niche – pricing out at just $899 on Kickstarter – while still offering the kind of power that users need.

The Lectro e-bike uses a 750w hub-motor combined with a 48v battery to propel riders at 20mph unassisted for 20+ miles.

According to the Population Reference Bureau, bicyclists account for fewer than 1 percent of all commuters, though the average person spends around 25 minutes traveling to work each morning, usually by car. Lectro, founded in 2016 by a team of engineers and designers from MIT, hopes to establish a new benchmark in electric biking, perhaps making it easier to swap out the more traditional modes of transportation for the bike. And the power supporting Lectro means users can do less pedaling and more… chilling. Or more wheelies. Cue the wheelies.

Each full-feature bike comes with disc brakes, programmable LCD display, headlight, mud flaps, 6-speed Shimano gear set, aluminum frame, and 4-inch fat tires. Lectro – I dare you to send us a bike!

Electronics Go Organic

Light-up clothing, medical sensors and electronic wallpaper are just a few of the possible future applications that may be enabled by flexible and printable electronics using carbon-based materials.

The University of Bath is leading a collaborative research project called EXTMOS (EXTended Model of Organic Semiconductors), help develop new organic semiconductor materials and additives that can be printed onto flexible film to create devices that are low cost, flexible, wearable and lightweight.

But inorder to bring these products to market, the properties of organic semiconductors need to be improved and their production cost lowered. Currently problems with poor electrical conductivity make them unreliable.

EXTMOS will identify a new generation of materials for these devises with a new approach, and project leaders say that by theoretically predicting the motion of electronic charges, they will be able to test out new materials in a virtual environment before making and testing the most promising materials combinations in the lab, thus accelerating development of new materials and device structures.

Guys. You had me at electronic wallpaper.

Animal Skulls… Forever

And finally, in animal skull news… you heard that right.

Jewelry and collectibles makers FIRE & BONE have launched a new line derived from real animal skulls. Using 3D scanning and 3D printing, the company creates incredibly accurate miniature skull replicas that, quote, “are highly detailed and faithful to nature's design.” Their process begins with the actual animal skull which is scanned and then scaled down on a computer to avoid any loss of detail. Additionally, the team at Fire & Bone works closely with an experienced, family-owned casting house to create the pieces using a lost wax method in order to ensure the retention of a high level of detail.

If you want your own skull, check out Fire and Bone’s Kickstarter, where they’ve basically quintupled their goal to fund some of the upfront costs. A mere $35 investment will get you a pendant of your choice, along with matching chain. If I wear the raccoon one, does it send a ‘stay out of my trash cans’ kind of message? Worth it.

I’m Anna Wells, standing in for David Mantey, and this is Engineering by Design.

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