Seemed like it was just yesterday when 3D printers were the talk of the town, hyped to the maximum, the next big thing, a technological wonder that was poised to revolutionize our world like never before. However, the fire seems to have burned out pretty quickly as most now think that these 3D printers are only suitable for printing miniature action figures for geeks.
Yes, its is known that these machines can do a lot more than just print action figures, but do their boons far outweigh their bane. Here are some talking points on potential harmful consequences of using 3D printers:
1) Energy-Hogging – They consume about 100 times more energy to melt plastic and mold it than injection molding.
2) Air Emission – The emission of unhealthy toxins from burning of plastics resulting in environmental issues and health risks.
3) Plastic Reliance – When the world is moving towards a plastic free age, ironically, the devices is centered around the usage of plastic for printing purposes.
4) Manufacturing Impact – Introduction of these printers in the car or aviation manufacturing industries to replace the human element will result in loss of jobs for manual labor.
For every bad thing that can be said about anything, there can definitely be a good thing that can be said about it too. Let us see how 3D printers can help change the world for the better.
Changing the way rhinos are being poached:-
A San Francisco-based startup has come up with an interesting concept to curb the poaching of rhino horns. Coupling the usage of 3D printers and the advancements in biotechnology, they are attempting to fabricate rhino horns from not synthetic materials but organic matter, metals, minerals, proteins and in cases even actual rhino DNA. The idea is to sell these artificial rhino horns to the said poachers ( to cover the cost of printing it ) who then go on to sell them in various international markets to make money and feed their families. This way, the rhinos are left unharmed and the market eventually dies out.
Tracking poachers using turtle egg shells:-
Not as big as a rhino but just as endangered, turtles have a huge market for their goods. Turtle eggs are stolen and sold for huge money with one egg going for a whopping $150. Paso Pacifico, an environmental conservation organization has taken the initiative to safeguard these turtle eggs from being poached and sold. They proposed to use 3D printers to print fake eggs, equip them with GSM and mixing them with the real eggs so as to enable the authorities to track their movement and uncover the sellers and their markets.
Medicine and health care:-
While we are on the topic of turtles and their safety, here’s another usage of the 3D printer, that is soon to be adopted by almost all veterinary hospitals around the world.
The image displayed below is of Akut-3 a loggerhead sea turtle that got struck on the jaw by a boat’s propeller. It was rescued by an organization called Dekamer.
A CT Scan of his skull showed what needed to be done, and BTech Innovations a company that specializes in custom implants created this printed beak and jaw made out of titanium for the wounded turtle. Now, Akut-3 is swimming freely deep in the ocean with his almost perfect printed jaw.
Self Service Dentistry:-
From turtles onto humans, we go on to the case of one Mr. Amos Dudley, a digital design student from New Jersey who decided to implement all that he learned about his own treatment. Choosing not to wear braces as a child left Amos with a crooked smile. Being broke but having unlimited access to all the high-end equipment from his lab at college, Amos decided to take things into his own hands.
Some cheap alginate powder that gave him a mold of his teeth along with a 3D laser scan that could translate imagery into existence which finally was fed into a 3D printer, he was able to print a model of his braces. At the cost of $60, he now has a fully functional set of bracers that are doing wonders for him. This is clearly an indication that 3D printing can be widely used in dentistry for treating the untreatable.
3D printers capable of outputting in colour and multiple materials already exist and will continue to improve to a point where functional products will be able to be output. With effects on energy use, waste reduction, customization, product availability, medicine, art, construction and sciences, 3D printing will change the manufacturing world as we know it.
Suki: This Startup Wants To Transform Healthcare With Its Artificial Intelligence Tool
We live in a rapidly transforming era where humanity is making exponential leaps in technology. Thirty years ago, no one would have believed you could talk to an online voice assistant to create tasks and get things done. Ten years ago, no one would have believed humanity would land robots on Mars. Technology truly has improved the quality of living of every human who owns a smartphone and has access to an internet connection. Voice assistants are slowly replacing manual tasks and making lives easier and efficient. Siri, Alexa, Google Voice Assistant are just some of the widely used artificial intelligence based tools which are employed on a daily basis. Artificial intelligence, which is hailed as the technology of the future is now slowly making its way into much more complex domains like self driving vehicles, quantum computing and also health care.
Suki, a United States of America based startup founded by Punit Soni, developed their own voice assistant which runs on artificial intelligence to simplify healthcare for doctors and other healthcare professionals. In simple terms, Suki is akin to Siri for doctors. While you could order a pizza or schedule an appointment on Siri, doctors could modify, edit and add health records of their patients. Suki is a powerful tool to help doctors with documentation of health records which often take hours of their (doctors) time.
Suki currently focuses on documentation but has the potential to expand its usage to data queries, ordering, prescribing and billing. According to a white paper published by Suki, using its technology increases the time a doctor spends with a patient by 12% by cutting note taking time by 76%. The time which is saved also brings in a financial benefit of $30,000 more in revenue a year on average for doctors.
Suki raised a $ 20 million Series B round from Flare Capital Partners, First Round Capital, and Venrock, doubling its total funding to $ 40 million since its 2017 launch. Suki is also looking to expand its reach in India and has decided to establish Bangalore as their base of operations. India holds a lot of potential for Suki considering the amount of manual work which goes into almost any sector.
It would be interesting to watch how Suki and other similar AI based startups would transform healthcare across the world.
Leher Versus Clubhouse: Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?
Clubhouse is a new type of social networking platform which is an audio only platform. This means every conversation takes place through audio where users speak to let their thoughts known. Users can create and host rooms where speakers will talk about a particular topic. Originating in the Silicon Valley, Clubhouse attracted some major names onto its platform like Elon Musk, Evan Williams, Reddit co founder Alexis Ohanian, former Y Combinator President Sam Altman, AngelList co founder Naval Ravikant, Ashton Kuthcer, Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Kevin Hart and many others are some of the influential personalities who are on Clubhouse. There is however a catch as Clubhouse is currently limited to iOS.
Leher is an Indian made alternative to Clubhouse and is a similar audio sharing and listening startup. Leher also has video support unlike Clubhouse and is also available for both Android and iOS. However, Leher does not have the biggest names in the world on its platform but it does have significant micro influencers and is growing at a rapid pace. Within 180 days of its beta version launch, the company claimed to have its users spend about 44 minutes every day and 250,000 minutes per month for live video sessions.
We at Startup Stories are curious to see which among Leher or Clubhouse would our readers choose to take part in a virtual discussion. Please let us know your answer in the poll below.
4 Useful And New WhatsApp Features That Released During The COVID-19 Lockdown
WhatsApp is one of the worlds largest online texting applications which is used almost in every country. It is a light and easy to use texting application which also offers a lot of other important utilities other than texting. These include video calling, group video calling, digital payments, document and media sharing and location sharing. What began as a simple texting application is now an indispensable part of our lives because WhatsApp has made information flow faster and safer. WhatsApp kept scaling new heights time and again and this was possible only because of the constant innovation by the developer team.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced entire countries to go into lockdown and shut down businesses, WhatsApp is doing its part to help people during these times by rolling out some nifty and important features.
Group video call limit increased
WhatsApp had the facility for group video calls which could only accommodate 4 people in a single call. However, with a new update WhatsApp increased the limit of group video calls to 8 users. The update is not just limited to increase in participants but also to the audio and video quality. There has been a noticeable increase in the quality of the video and audio in group video calls.
‘Together At Home’ sticker pack
WhatsApp has launched a new sticker pack called ‘Together at Home’ in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO.) The sticker pack aims to help people stay connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restrictions on frequently forwarded messages
This is probably one of the most important features to be released during the COVID-19 lockdown. In a country like India, a lot of misinformation is shared on a daily basis on WhatsApp messages and most of these messages are forwards. The amount of misinformation on WhatsApp is so high that WhatsApp is often referred to as ‘Whatsapp University.’ During the coronavirus pandemic, WhatsApp restricted ‘frequently forwarded messages’ to be sent to not more than one chat at a time.
WhatsApp has launched chatbots by partnering with WHO and the Indian government and launched a chatbot to provide authentic information related to the COVID-19 virus. The chatbot developed by the Indian government is known as MyGov Corona Help Desk and can be accessed by adding +91-9013-151515 to your contacts and sending a message.
Sharing correct information, avoiding incorrect panic.
Here is an effort by WhatsApp and @mygovindia to ensure you receive accurate and verified information on Coronavirus.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 21, 2020
We believe that these features are definitely the need of the hour and will go a long way in creating a positive impact. Let us know if you used any of these features on your mobile device!
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