By Deena M. Amato-McCoy for Chain Store Age
Walmart is enhancing its new website with two new services that will streamline how customers browse and make purchases across its home furnishings offering. On Thursday, the discount giant will begin testing its 3D virtual shopping tour, a service that enables customers to virtually browse a curated apartment. The service features nearly 70 items from both national brands and Walmart’s private label offerings.
Walmart will also enable customers to buy a completely decorated room. In July, the discounter is launching “Buy a Room,” a service that will allow customers to add a group of items to their online shopping cart, and buy a complete look.
Initially, the service will highlight dorm living, and feature five curated collections. Each room will feature up to 20 of the most popular items college students need to outfit their living space.
“While we are launching these new features for dorm rooms and small space living, we know that they could have applications elsewhere and will continue to listen to customer feedback to determine how to implement them more broadly on the site,” said Anthony Soohoo, senior VP and group general manager, home, U.S. e-commerce, Walmart.
For example, Walmart plans to continue build out its home assortment, and plans to add a new coastal style, he added.
The new solutions are an extension of Walmart’s new digital home furnishings shopping experience. This is one of many elements featured on Walmart’s redesigned website, which was introduced in February.
Walmart’s new dorm room shopping experience comes on the heels of Amazon’s own push for the upcoming back-to school shopping season. On Wednesday, the online giant launched its redesigned “Back to School” and new “Off to College” stores, two concepts that feature low-priced classroom supplies and dorm room essentials. Both online sections feature a curated selection of merchandise, and streamlined searches to locate items.
Of all the applications of 3D printing, the one which seems most astonishing is the possibility of one day being able to use the technology to print out vital biological organs.
But while we’re not at that point just yet, a team of researchers at the U.K.’s University of Bristol recently announced a significant new advance in the form of a brand new bio-ink, a printable liquid material made out of living cells. In time it is hoped that this new bio-ink may be used for the 3D printing of cartilage and bone implants for damaged body parts such as joints.
“What’s different about our work is that we’ve got a hybrid system in which the bio-ink is made up of adult stem cells and two polymers, one of them naturally occurring and other artificial,” Dr Adam Perriman, a senior research fellow at Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, tells Digital Trends.
“The artificial polymer controls the phase behavior of the ink, which comes out as a liquid and becomes a solid. The second natural polymer, extracted from seaweed, then provides the structural fidelity needed to sustain cell nutrients.”
If talk of “naturally-occurring polymers” and “phase behavior” is a bit much to absorb on a Monday, consider that one of the big challenges with bioprinting is allowing effective nutrient access for the stem cells used in the bio-ink — thereby creating a material which can be used to print a living structure. The hybrid bio-ink created by Perriman and his colleagues achieves this.
Once the cell nutrients have been introduced, the synthetic polymer is expelled, leaving just the stem cells and natural polymer. The results have already been used to 3D print tissue structures such as a full-size tracheal cartilage ring.
“Bioprinting is an absolutely enormous area in terms of its current growth and the scale of its eventual goal,” Perriman says. “We’re definitely excited about our developments in the field — and the work we’re continuing to do.”
By Luke Dormehl for www.digitaltrends.com
Australian artist Erica Gray, winner of the 2015 3Doodler Fashion Award, has picked up her 3D printing pen again to create Forms Organic, a wearable sculpture inspired by organic figures and animalistic imagery.
We first became acquainted with the 3Doodled creations of Erica Gray in November. At that time, Gray, a versatile and talented artist based in Queensland, Australia, had recently finished working on two incredible pieces for the World of WearableArt Show in New Zealand, both of which required the use of 3Doodler’s world famous 3D printing pen.
Infinity, a black PVC-coated lycra piece with 3Doodled ABS detailing, was complemented by Crystal Matrix, a stunning white structure made from five intersecting 3Doodled ABS sections. After wowing audiences at the New Zealand exhibition, Crystal Matrix would go on to scoop 3Doodler’s Fashion Award at the inaugural 3Doodler Awards.
Participation in the World of WearableArt Show motivated Gray to continue sketching with the 3D printing pen, and the tail-end of 2015 saw the artist getting wild with a nature-themed project called Forms Organic. An expression of animalistic imagery, the now-complete wearable sculpture possesses a skeletal structure, polymer teeth, nylon tail, and claws, with the main body of the piece “3Doodled around, through, or within those elements”.
Taking a few weeks to complete, Forms Organic evolved naturally from Gray’s initial sketches, with that partially freeform approach reflected in the organic fluidity of the 3D printed artwork itself: “My sculpted works are often themed on organic forms and animalistic imagery,” the artist told 3Doodler, “and this piece captures those fluid forms as well as some more rigid skeletal sections.”
Although Gray’s 3Doodled wearable artworks represent expressions of passionate creativity, a lot of practical planning and focus is required to get them finished. For Forms Organic, the artist had a strict deadline to work towards, having booked her model for a specific time period—a pressure which helped the 3Doodling designer to keep her focus. Gray also had to check her creative impulses at times to ensure that the piece could actually be worn by a human model. “It took a little longer getting the intricacies of the fit right for a moving subject,” she explained.
Gray’s 3Doodling process involved both stencils and freehand drawing. For some of the joints, the artist used roughly sketched stencils. Layers and layers of ABS filament could then be built upon these foundation layers in order to emphasize the underlying shapes. Although Gray’s commitment to bespoke pieces gives her a natural inclination toward freehand creation – such as the 3Doodler affords – she also plans to use a desktop 3D printer for some of her upcoming works. A growing range of 3Doodler filaments could also see the artist experimenting with a wider color palette than has heretofore been seen on her work.
Gray admits that Forms Organic was designed with a particular show in mind, but plans to keep its identity under wraps until an official announcement can be made. We can’t wait to see more of her 3Doodled work.
By Benedict for www.3ders.org