The LeviPrint system generates acoustic fields that pick up small particles, glue drops and any
“We have developed a levitator in combination withrobotic arm and liquid dispenser for non-contact manufacturing of complex objects,” said Asier Marzo, lead researcher and member of the Smart Cities Institute. Unlike conventional assembly and manufacturing methods, in which parts are in direct contact with the machine, acoustic manipulation is used to position and orient parts without touching them during assembly.
"We can manipulate small fragileparts as well as liquids or powders, making processes more versatile. In addition, there is less cross-contamination because the manipulator does not touch the material,” said Marzo.
Levitation of small particles and drops, as notedcreators of LeviPrint, not a new technology, but none of the existing work has been able to manipulate elongated objects; this study allows the use of segments, sticks or beams for fast and non-contact fabrication of strong, light and complex structures.
Some of the proposed methods includethe use of glue that hardens under the action of ultraviolet light. For example, the system uses an acoustic levitator to capture glue droplets from a syringe. The drop levitates to the position where the next part of the structure will be added. The system picks up a segment or particle, positions it next to the previous one, connects it to the adhesive, and uses UV light to dry the adhesive so that the new part adheres to the structure.
The ultrasound field can pass through tissue,nets and other materials. For example, researchers built a ship inside a bottle by levitating materials from the outside through a small hole. “If LeviPrint were adapted to work in an aquatic environment,” they said, “it could assemble complex structures in cell culture media and possibly even inside living beings.”
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