The consumer adoption of 3D printing may be slow, but the technology is exploding in many other creative ways. It’s being used to create the fastest R/C cars in the world, to develop public housing complexes, and is even being deployed on the International Space Station. Now in another innovative application, the technology is being used to raise awareness about endangered and threatened birds.
3D printing marketplace Threeding and 3D scanner manufacturer Artec 3D are working together to scan and create 3D printing files for more than 55 species of endangered and threatened birds. The birds include the eastern imperial eagle, the white-tailed eagle, the boreal owl, the black-crowned night heron, the Humboldt penguin, the long-eared owl, and others. In this case, man is trying to save the birds that man’s activities are destroying. Many of these bird populations are facing extinction due to mostly man-made factors, such as habitat destruction, poaching for the exotic pets trade, and climate change, to name a few.
Using Artec’s Spider and Eva 3D scanners, a team of volunteers has been scanning taxidermied versions of the birds obtained from museums, scientific facilities, and other sources. The scans are then modified to create 3D printable files that are available for download for free from Threeding’s marketplace. The free versions will be available until the end of April, at which point Threeding will begin to charge a small fee for access to the files. Though offered to the public for a fee, students, universities, and other research organizations can ask for free access for educational and scientific purposes.
The team at Threeding and Artec 3D hope these files will raise awareness about these bird species and the dangers they face. “The preservation of all animal species is of critical importance and relies heavily upon education. The portability and ease afforded to users of our handheld scanners and software suite is offering a means for students, scientists, and conservationists alike to exchange information and work together in this effort, ” said Artec 3D president and CEO Artyom Yukhin.
Besides birds, Threeding is also involved in several other educational and scientific projects, including one that is preserving ancient Greek and Roman artifacts. Look for these and other models to arrive soon on the marketplace’s website.