3D Printing Current Affairs - 2019

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October 7: World Habitat Day

The World Habitat Day is organized by the United Nations. The organization has designated the first Monday of every October to commemorate the day.

Theme: Frontier Technologies as an innovative tool to transform waste to wealth.

The theme is built based on last year’s theme “Municipal Solid Waste Management”.

The focus of this year World Habitat Day (WHD) is to promote contribution of FRONTIER TECHNOLOGIES towards sustainable waste management that helps to achieve SDG 11.

The SDGS 11 is about building inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities.

Highlights

  • The 2019 WHD is to be observed in Mexico

Significance of Frontier Technologies

  • The Frontier technologies include robotics, automation, renewable energy technologies, Artificial Intelligence and bio technologies. Some of the top frontier technologies are Big Data Analysis, Sustainable polymers, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, Nanotechnology, renewable energy technologies, drones and customized satellites.
  • They are technologies that offer potential for cheaper, faster, scalable and easy to use solutions for every day problems. It includes waste management as well.

Significance of the WHD

  • The world’s cities produce 7 to 10 billion tons of waster per year.
  • Low income countries spend around 20% of their budget on waste management. In most of the countries this allocated budget is not sufficient to finance waste and sanitation management systems.
  • In most of the urban areas of developing countries, around 16% of urban dwellers lack access to basic sanitation services.

The lack of waste management has led to air, soil and water pollution that in turn threaten public health. Another biggest challenge is dumping of waste in the oceans. The plastics from these wastes are killing around 100,000 marine animals annually.

The SDG goals 6, 11, 12 and 14  and the Paris Agreement all focus on waste management and considers it as an urgent and issue to be addressed.

How can Frontier technologies help?

  • The use of sustainable polymers reduces waste generation and also reduces the need of recyclable wastes
  • The technology of 3D printing has the potential of creating less waste during production.
  • Smart bins using AI can help in garbage sorting.

UN Habitat Strategic Plan 2020 – 2023

The plan reinforces all the global agendas on waste management. Under the plan the UN is to focus on Frontier Technologies that help in safe, resilient, sustainable and smart cities.

Scientists create world’s first 3D-printed human corneas

Scientists from Newcastle University, UK have created world’s first 3D printed human corneas (3D printed thin protective film over eye) that could solve problem of shortage of available eye donors and help millions of blind people gain sight again.

Cornea is outermost layer of the human eye. Its key function is to focus vision. It also barricades eyes against harmful dirt and bacteria. Damage to cornea from injury or infection can distort vision or even lead to blindness.

Key Facts

The 3D printed human corneas were produced using bio-ink solution consisting of healthy corneal stem mixed together with alginate and collagen. The combination of alginate (a gel derived from seaweed) and collagen helps to keep corneal stem cells alive and produces material of necessary dimensions which is stiff enough to hold its shape and soft enough to be squeezed out nozzle of 3D printer.