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With Facebook Connect 2020 scheduled to take place next week, the firm’s Reality Labs team has announced the development of 3D printed Virtual Reality (VR) gloves.

Created alongside researchers from Cornell University, the devices feature soft pneumatic actuators which “measure localized force” and provide “haptic feedback” for users. Given that Facebook established Reality Labs to oversee the development of VR for its Oculus Rift gaming subsidiary, the 3D printed gloves could yet be part of the upcoming conference.

The research team's novel material could be used to create a new generation of 3D printed wearable devices. Gif via the nature communications journal.
The research team’s 3D printed gloves could feature in Facebook’s upcoming digital Connect conference. Image via the nature communications journal.

3D printing soft robotics devices 

Devices constructed using soft matter have inherent shock absorbency, load management, and passive energy recapturing advantages over those made using conventional synthetic materials. Soft tissues are particularly useful within robotics, where their low moduli and large extensibility enable the creation of flexible bots that can be deformed into almost any state without breaking.

Silicone rubbers are ideal for creating soft robots due to their thermal resistance qualities and chemical inertness. Despite this, conventional fabrication processes often involve replica or injection molding, which only yields simple, prismatic shapes. Recent rubber research has investigated using liquid silicone materials as inks for extrusion-based 3D printing, but their modified properties have also weakened their crosslinking density.

As a result of the material’s reduced strength, extrusion-based samples have shown limited print fidelity for overhanging features, causing them to slump prior to curing. Other research teams have used stereolithography (SLA) techniques to produce parts with liquid resins, providing greater stability, but not the same toughness as commercially-available rubbers.

What’s more, the processing requirements of SLA demand the use of a stable, low-viscosity resin, which has prevented conventional approaches from being used to strengthen them. As an alternative strategy, the research team hypothesized that creating Double Networks (DNs) wherein two polymers occupy the same volume, would provide a rubber with enhanced strength.

Within the team’s new approach, the two polymeric layers have different qualities and functions. The outer layer is brittle and dissipates energy, while the secondary network remains intact, and is able to sustain heavy loading. Leveraging their DNs, the researchers proposed that they could not just match the strength qualities of commercial rubbers, but also bond the printed objects with other substrates.

The researchers tested the enhanced strength of their new material via numerous evaluations. Image via the nature communications journal.
The researchers tested the enhanced strength of their new material via numerous evaluations. Image via the nature communications journal.

The team’s double-silicone 3D printing material

In order to create their new material, the researchers used a thiol-ene silicone formulation as a base due to its low viscosity, rapid gelation, and high reaction conversion qualities. By contrast, the secondary polymer in the DN needs to form its own distinct network, so the team used a Mold Max Series resin due to their inherent toughness and rigidity.

The two-stage combination process saw the rubbers formed sequentially into a photocured thiol-ene silicone and a mechanically robust condensation-cured silicone. Subsequent infrared spectroscopy testing revealed that the relative mass fraction of the two networks could be tuned to adjust the resin’s printability and mechanical performance.

For instance, increasing the loading of the condensation network was found to improve the tensile strength of the final part dramatically, from 0.008  MPa in the ‘green’ part to 0.92 MPa. Leveraging four different tin-based rubber materials, the team then experimented with changing the base material in their DN to adjust its mechanical characteristics.

The joint team's new silicone could be used to create surgical model in addition to wearable devices. Image via the nature communications journal.
In future, the joint team’s new 3D printing silicone could be used to create surgical models in addition to wearable devices. Image via the nature communications journal.

A similar regime of printable blends emerged, with each having a low enough viscosity to enable SLA 3D printing. The tin-based materials tended to dominate the mix, by providing a higher level of strength, while integrating elastomers provided more customizable performance through different crosslink densities. To demonstrate the applications of their novel polymer network in surgical models, the team later created a hollow 3D printed heart.

Although the cardiac replica was unable to fully replicate the complex mechanical performance of natural tissue, it did possess an elastic modulus similar to that of its biological counterpart. As a result, the joint team’s silicone could be deployed in the future by trainee surgeons for practicing procedures. Combining the flexibility and strength of the DN also allowed the team to create an orthotic glove with four 3D printed pneumatic actuators.

Not only did the device allow for dexterous manipulation, but the bonded structures continued to survive hundreds of movement cycles for more than ten months of usage. According to the team, their glove had proved so robust, that its soft actuators could be integrated into other garments, yielding a new type of wearable soft robotic device.

With Facebook Connect just a week away, the team’s timely advances in soft robotics could yet have a role in the future of VR as well.

Soft robotics and additive manufacturing 

In recent years, researchers from a number of institutions have experimented with 3D printing soft robotics, yielding additive innovations in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

A research team from Linköping University, Sweden, has used a custom extrusion-based 3D printer to fabricate a set of microactuators for soft micro robotics. The actuators contain an electrically-active polymer that changes shape once stimulated by an electrical charge.

Scientists from the University of California San Diego have used 3D printing to create flexible, walking “insect-like” robots. The team’s budget-minded production technique is designed to lower the cost of entry to fabricating soft robotics.

Researchers from Zhejiang University of TechnologyTianjin University, Nanjing Institute of Technology, and Ritsumeikan University, have 3D printed a soft robotic finger. The device is operated using an embedded electrode sensor, meaning that it doesn’t require an external power source.

The researchers’ findings are detailed in their paper titled “3D printable tough silicone double networks,” which was published in the Nature Communications journal. The report was co-authored by Thomas J. Wallin, Leif-Erik Simonsen, Wenyang Pan, Kaiyang Wang, Emmanuel Giannelis, Robert F. Shepherd and Yiğit Mengüç.


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The Motivator

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE: Inspired by fans, for the fans




Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has revealed the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (FE), the newest member of the Galaxy S20 series. Galaxy S20 FE is a premium flagship smartphone that includes innovations Galaxy fans told us they love most, and it is also made available at an accessible price point. COVID-19 disrupted the world as we knew it and technology is now playing a more crucial role in our lives and that is why we created Galaxy S20 FE; to deliver flagship experiences to more consumers.

Samsung took select features of the Galaxy S20 series, such as the super smooth scrolling display, an AI-powered camera, advanced chipset, hyper-fast connectivity, all day battery, expandable storage, with a streamlined premium design, in order to create the all-new Galaxy S20 FE.

“The S20 FE is an extension of the Galaxy S20 family and is the start of a new way to bring meaningful innovation to even more people to let them do the things they love with the best of Galaxy.” Says Mr. Caden Yu, the Managing Director, Samsung Electronics West Africa.

All you want, to do what you love
Express the best of yourself when out on a day trip or at night catching fun with a pop of color that reflects your personal style, attitude and personality. The S20 FE comes in variant colors of Cloud Red, Cloud Lavender, Cloud Mint and Cloud Navy.

With the S20 FE, the fun never stops. The pro grade camera and 30X Space zoom help you capture memorable moments whether near or far at day time.

Plus, the night mode multi-frame and powerful performance gets you through the fun nights and the 4500mAH battery keeps you on all day with little in between time to recharge using the 15W fast charging.

And since life can be unpredictable, the Galaxy S20 FE is water and dust resistant; IP68 rated. Better yet, when accidents happens, one can rest easy knowing the 24 months warranty and Screen repair offer that comes with Pre order has got your back.

Pre order
The S20 FE is available for pre order from the 9th of October with a Wireless Bluetooth earphones, Clear Standing cover and Screen repair offer. You also get a 4 month Free Subscription on YouTube premium. Trade In Discount Offer also available from Pre order. Trade in your old phones and enjoy discount on the S20 FE

The S20 FE would be officially available in the market from the 23rd of October. Visit any of our Samsung Experience Store nationwide for an amazing and pleasurable experience.

Device Specifications
With its variants of colors, S20 FE comes with a 6GB RAM/128GB ROM, a long lasting battery of 4500mAh with 15W fast charging, a 32MP selfie camera and a 120Hz Super-Amoled display.

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The Motivator

FIFA 21: No demo for upcoming game, EA Sports confirm




The company says it will instead focus on perfecting the latest iteration of the series ahead of release

EA Sports has announced that the company will not be releasing a demo for FIFA 21.

FIFA 21 is set to be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Friday, October 9, having being pushed back from its usual September release date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, the game will also be eventually released on the upcoming Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, making this year’s release one of the most important in recent years.

Typically, EA Sports release a demo for each year’s game around three weeks before the official release, allowing players to test out the gameplay in one-off matches featuring some of the game’s top teams.

The demo is then typically followed by an early access period for those that are EA Play members, offering players a chance to play the full game for a limited time before release.

However, EA confirmed on Monday that this year’s game will not have a demo, with the company instead focusing on making sure the full game is prepared for its October 9 release date.

“We aren’t releasing a demo for FIFA 21. Instead we’ve made the decision to focus our development team’s time on delivering the best full game experience for current & next-gen consoles,” EA said in a statement.

“We look forward to EA PLAY members jumping in 10 days from now and launching the game Oct 9.”

In recent weeks, EA has begun to unveil the list of the highest-rated players in the game, with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski earning the top three places on this year’s rankings on the men’s side with U.S. women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe leading the way for the women.

This year’s game will feature improvements to career mode, new attacking systems such as Agile Dribbling, Positioning Personality and Creative Runs and improvements to the highly-popular Ultimate Team mode including FUT Co-Op gameplay and increased club customisation options.

Additionally, the game will feature a series of new icons: Eric Cantona, Ferenc Puskas, Xavi, Nemanja Vidic, Petr Cech, Samuel Eto’o, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Phillip Lahm, Fernando Torres, Ashley Cole and Davor Suker.


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The Motivator

Editing HTML Like A Boss In VS Code




Here’s a seven minute video from Caleb Porzio that focuses on some of Emmet‘s HTML editing features. You might think of Emmet as that thing that expands abbreviations like table.stats>tr*3>td*3 into glorious, expanded, and perfect HTML. But Emmet has other HTML editing trickery up its sleeve. My favorite is “wrap with abbreviation” (which happens to be Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + A on CodePen), but there are more, like expanding your selection inward and outward and tag changing.

If you haven’t seen it, the Emmet 2 preview on CodePen is pretty neeeeat. It shows you what you’re about to expand into before you do it:

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