Drexel University researchers are using 3-D printing and robotics technologies to study prehistoric life. The combined technologies are allowing the researchers to create scale models for testing hypotheses about the ways ancient animals moved.
Technology in paleontology hasn’t changed in about 150 years. We use shovels and pickaxes and burlap and plaster. It hasn’t changed — until right now.”
— Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, associate professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Drexel
Using current 3-D printer technology, a scaled-down model of a dinosaur bone or other fossil can be rapidly prototyped. In addition to allowing researchers to model and test hypotheses about movement and behavior, the 3-D printing allows paleontologists to create unlimited real-size facsimiles for museums more efficiently than traditional casting methods allow, and it can be used to produce educational models.
© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.