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Lee Cronin: Print your own medicine
Chemist Lee Cronin is working on a 3D printer that, instead of objects, is able to print molecules. An exciting potential long-term application: printing your own medicine using chemical inks.
A professor of chemistry, nanoscience and chemical complexity, Lee Cronin and his research group investigate how chemistry can revolutionize modern technology and even create life.
WHY SHOULD YOU LISTEN TO HIM?
Lee Cronin’s lab at the University of Glasgow does cutting-edge research into how complex chemical systems, created from non-biological building blocks, can have real-world applications with wide impact. At TEDGlobal 2012, Cronin shared some of the lab’s latest work: creating a 3D printer for molecules. This device — which has been prototyped — can download plans for molecules and print them, in the same way that a 3D printer creates objects. In the future, Cronin says this technology could potentially be used to print medicine — cheaply and wherever it is needed. As Cronin says: “What Apple did for music, I’d like to do for the discovery and distribution of prescription drugs.”
At TEDGlobal 2011, Cronin shared his lab’s bold plan to create life. At the moment, bacteria is the minimum unit of life — the smallest chemical unit that can undergo evolution. But in Cronin’s emerging field, he’s thinking about forms of life that won’t be biological. To explore this, and to try to understand how life itself originated from chemicals, Cronin and others are attempting to create truly artificial life from completely non-biological chemistries that mimic the behavior of natural cells. They call these chemical cells, or Chells.
Cronin’s research interests also encompass self-assembly and self-growing structures — the better to assemble life at nanoscale. At the University of Glasgow, this work on crystal structures is producing a raft of papers from his research group. He says: “Basically one of my longstanding research goals is to understand how life emerged on planet Earth and re-create the process.”
Can a 3D printer make guns?
3D Printers could soon have the ability to make guns — and now Congress could be getting involved. Joe Johns reports.
Mario Fleurinck – 3d Printing
Paolo Cardini: Forget multitasking, try monotasking
People aren’t just cooking anymore — they’re cooking, texting, talking on the phone, watching YouTube and uploading photos of the awesome meal they just made. Designer Paolo Cardini questions the efficiency of our multitasking world and makes the case for — gasp — “monotasking.” His charming 3D-printed smartphone covers just might help.
Paolo Cardini is a product designer who asks serious questions about how we live — and answers them with whimsical and playful designs.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM:
Paolo Cardini likes asking some important questions about the way we live, like: Does multitasking actually help us become more efficient? How far will social networking go? Who are the players in the myriad conflicts in the Arab world? What is the next frontier in product development? — and trying to answer them with playful designs, like his I Like Sit chaise lounge, which updates your Facebook status depending on your position, and MiddleField, a foosball table depicting different players in the Middle East. For TEDGlobal 2012 Cardini created a unique product called the MONOtask project. To help you deal with your overly multitasked life, Cardini has designed 3D-printed smartphone covers that “downgrade” your phone to be much dumber. Download your own cover plans and start monotasking >>