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Ecophage — The World’s First 3D Printed 3D Printer

The news reminds of scenes from The Matrix where Agent Smith replicates himself unending. The same seems to have happened in a lab of Germany’s Doppelbock University, where as much as 12 generations of 3D printers were constructed using 3D printers. Yes, that’s right. We’re talking about generations of 3D printed 3D printers.


ecophage 3d printed 3d printer

Dr Drexler von Neumann led the team which developed these self-replicating 3D printers. These printers have built-in material re-processor that can convert any carbon-based substance into filament for 3D printing. And, thus the process of self-replication continues. The printer has been named Ecophage.

“The Ecophage is powered by chemical energy harvested from organic materials. The device’s material re-processor consumes plastic, wood, and other organic materials and breaks them down into molecular filaments that can be used to create new machines. A randomized algorithm ensures that successive generations of the devices are able to change and adapt to suit their environment – the latest versions of the Ecophage have developed chitinous legs able to outrun all but the swiftest of flyswatters.”

But the self-replication process has a limitation in terms of generation. With each successive generation, the size of the printer decreases. The team has constructed 12 successive generations of self-replicating 3D printers.

The project is, nonetheless, a success. When asked about the design, Dr. von Neumann said “I only wish I designed it with an off switch.”

Thanks to: Inhabitat

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