In Pictures: Designs for the World’s First 3D Printed Electric Car

US car manufacturing maverick Local Motors has launched a competition to design the first 3D printed electric vehicle, and with entries already rolling in the final design is expected to wow.

The competition, which is open for entries until 13th May, will be voted on by members of the Local Motors online community and judged by a group of experts including MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis.

The chosen design will then be 3D printed using a Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine, the first large-scale 3D printer of its kind, at September’s International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, US.

“This vehicle may well be the coolest vehicle on the planet, at least to those of us in manufacturing technology,” said Rick Neff, manager market development for Cincinnati Inc, the company providing the BAAM machine.

With over $10,000 in prize money, the competition has already attracted some strong contestants, with designs ranging from sophisticated but traditional to cool and zany. Here we profile some of our favourites from the entries so far.

Spider Net by Chavito

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This design is still in progress, but is shaping up to be pretty cool. According to car buffs in the Local Motors online community, the design could provide good structural strength while keeping the overall weight low.


View full entry.


Lithos by Lulu

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Taking inspiration from classic racing cars, this design uses opposing tapered elements to crate a rigid triangulated overall structure. Some areas of the vehicle are kept soft to provide added protection if an impact occurs.


View full entry.


3D Printed City Car by Vasilatos Ianis

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With a design that resembles a mashup between a Borderlands Outrunner and a Tron bike, this dune buggy-style vehicle is our favourite of the entries so far. The designer, Vasilatos Ianis, has already submitted another more steampunky design, so we’re expecting to see his name somewhere amongst the winners.


View full entry.


Hantig Concept by Gabriel Hantig

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Intended to be manufactured from just three components, this design forgoes doors in favour of a sleek, unbroken body complete with seats. With a front that some commenters have compared to designs by legendary Italian car design firm Pininfarina, this vehicle ties traditional design with a modern finish.


View full entry.


 3DPCarXperiment by Braunarsch

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Another work in progress, this design is interesting because it plays up the 3D printed aspect by incorporating the characteristic additive lines into the vehicle’s finish. The vehicle has a look that is quite reminiscent of a bumper car, so we’re interested to see how this design progresses.


View full entry.


Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC