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Sunglasses made by lasers

Someone I met in the sci-comm scene in Canberra last year is making it possible for the public to use 3D printing to design eyewear.

A few companies give the public access to the technology, but I like that this one is all about the eyewear (you know… sea-glare.)

Three dimensional printing creates objects by building up layers of material like stainless steel or polyamide plastic, usually as a powder. Each layer is stuck to the other with a a hardcore high-powered laser. Some materials are laid down as a liquid, instead of a powder, and then hardened to a solid. Instead of cutting out a design, they build it up, making it easier to do very fine work and one of a kind items.

The technology has been pegged for such epic, borderline science fiction things as creating organs by building up layers of cells – which I don’t think anyone has actually done yet, though someone did print an ear out of silicone.

Beehive have started designing a user interface so people can design their own eyewear, and they’ll 3D print it for you. SO COOL!

Bubble images printed into 3D eyewear. Makes me think science sunglasses!

They’re are crowd sourcing funds for the project, and asking for pledges. Each pledge gets a reward, including sunglasses made with their technology, and if they don’t get the necessary dough by the end, you get your money back.

I think a little cut-out molecule on the side would be pretty cool. Maybe of caffeine, you know, keeping it real the morning after a big party. Or the stages of mitosis along the sides, with the glass sections being the moment where it has split apart into two cells.

There’s heaps of possibilities, I can think of a few ace neurobiology and chemistry themes… What would you make?