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Aether to make bioprinting more accessible and affordable

US technology company Aether has introduced the Aether 1 3D bioprinter combining the ability to 3D print with an unprecedented 10 materials, with the ability to mix multiple fabrication methods in a single print, all from one 3D file.

The 3D printer combines 12 cutting-edge machines into a desktop device, including an advanced 8 syringe-equipped bioprinter, with a dual-Bowden extruder FFF printer, a laser assisted bioprinter, laser engraver, CNC milling machine, UV-curing 3D printer, 400F degree chocolate/food printer, 3D electronics printer, 4,000 Hz droplet-jetting printer, universal modular fabrication device that allows users to use 8 of their own tools or extruders, full-color robotic drawing, painting and calligraphy machine, and a photo to fabrication art machine.

Aether 1 utilizes a machine vision powered automatic air pressure calibration system. The printer automatically retracts inactive syringes and tools, and includes automatic stage leveling with optical sensor, and dual automatic nozzle cleaning and unclogging stations. For high-resolution printing, Aether 1 can be equipped with optional high-resolution motors capable of a 0.4 nanometer Z-axis resolution, well over 10,000x, as well as a 50-micron minimum layer diameter.  

Aether 1 comes in an anodized aluminum and glass sealed exterior and is equipped with sterility filtration to create a sterile printing environment for bio-materials or food. Features include a full-color LED lighting system including blacklight LEDs, wi-fi enabled 7-inch 480p touchscreen display, 13-megapixel camera as well as an optional 230x optical 700x digital UV-enabled microscope attachment, and optional customized machine vision object recognition capabilities, able to recognize cells and other objects. Aether 1’s mobile app allows users to monitor and control their print from any smartphone or mobile device.

Bioprinting: Aether 1 claims to be the only one offering syringe extrusion, LAB, and droplet jetting in a single machine. The printer’s 8 pneumatic syringe extruders more than double the number of syringe extruders on most high-end competitors. Furthermore, according to the company, Aether 1’s price can make bioprinting technology accessible to the vast majority of researchers. 

Food printing: Chefs, caterers, and food professionals can use 8 food materials all in one print, onto a hot, cold, or room-temperature printing surface. An all-glass heated syringe extruder allows melting of chocolate, sugar, cheese, or any other material. Photo to Fabrication allows a restaurant to take a photo of a customer when they arrive for dinner, and print their portrait in up to 8 materials for dessert. 

Art: Users can download or create digital design files, and then watch them get created in the physical world onto any kind of canvas, paper, or medium, using up to 8 art tools at once. They can combine multiple fabrication methods into one design to make mixed media art, such as using a canvas of wood to combine CNC milling, laser engraving, multi color ceramic extrusion, and painting, all in a single print from one file.

Prototyping: users can print with any 8 viscous materials and 2 filament materials, all together in one print, all from one 3D file. They can perform CNC milling or laser engraving on their prototype.

Aether has announced the Aether 1 will be priced below $9,000. Retail units will be available early in the second half of 2016. The company will launch a file-sharing website in April 2016 for sharing multi-material and multi-fabrication type files.

“Aether 1 is over 10 years ahead of what other companies are developing, but we’re selling it at an extremely low price to get it into the hands of as many innovators as possible. Imagine a single machine that can make beautiful art in entirely new ways, turn photos into paintings and sculptures, even turn food into a work of art, that can also be used to save lives, conduct critical research, and pursue the integration of biology and electronics,” said Ryan Franks, CEO of Aether.

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