3D-printed “hair” is not quite new. In 2015, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University demonstrated a method for using extrusion-based 3D printing to create plastic hair follicles from polylactic acid (PLA). The applications of the technology as showcased in the study, however, were not much more useful than giving printed ponies and troll dolls brand new dos. A team from MIT has since broadened the capabilities of 3D printing hair, while also developing new software for controlling the properties of the printed hair follicles for specific applications. In a recent study, researchers from MIT Media Lab describe methods for printing hairs of varying thicknesses onto flat and curved surfaces for use as sensors, actuators, Velcro and more
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