3D Printing For Our Future

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are doing some serious research that will help prepare humans to go longer spans of time and further distances into space than ever before…and they’re using Biology to do it!


Read the NASA article “3D Printing, Biology Research Make the Journey Back to Earth aboard SpaceX’s Dragonto learn all about how our ISS crew members are utilizing their knowledge of Biology and 3D printing to experiment with ideas such as printing nutritional meals, engineering heart and other organ tissues and even studying the use of Biofilms in microgravity. 


After you’ve read the article, imagine you are a member of the 3D printing team and you’re tasked with engineering either a human hand that can grasp or a human leg/foot that can kick.  How can you use what you already know about human body joints, muscles and bones help you in your creation?


Most people don’t have a 3D printer available to them.  That’s OK!  Use materials you have at home to complete the following engineering challenge:


Task 1: Engineer a Hand/arm

Criteria: Hand must be able to grip a cup.  Hand must be attached to an arm and entire system must be at least 1 foot in length. 


Constraints: Hand must be able to grip a cup for more than 5 seconds. 




Task 2: Engineer a foot/ leg

Criteria: Leg must be able to bend at the knee.  Foot/Leg must be attached to a foot and entire system must be at least 1.5 feet in length. 


Constraints: Foot/leg must be able to kick a ball. 


To earn credit for this activity, please upload a short video of your limb in action and explain what materials you’ve used.