Researchers at Harvard University have developed a unique pen with 3D printer functionality. Looking at her work, one gets the feeling that the graceful metal objects she creates are literally emerging from the air.
This is due to a special "ink" consisting of silver nanoparticles, which at the moment they emerge from the "feather" are sintered with a laser, forming metal objects of complex curved shape.
Unlike traditional 3D printers, the Harvard "pen" is not tied to a specific print site, but can move freely in space. The main problem faced by scientists is to determine the optimal distance between the nozzle pen and the laser. It takes literally a matter of seconds to create objects such as wire butterflies.
In the future, such handheld 3D printers may find use in printing flexible wearable electronics or in medical devices using metal structures that are created "in place".