Melbourne: Australian scientists have created the world`s first 3D printed giant titanium bugs, up to 50 times their original size, which will enable them to examine these creatures which can barely be seen with the naked eye.
They used state-of-the art technology to create super-sized bugs.
The project, led by CSIRO researchers, is to enable scientists to handle and examine bugs, especially those which can barely be seen with the naked eye, in large-scale detail for the very first time.
"Scientists believe this technology will soon enable them to determine characteristics, such as gender, and examine surface characteristics which are otherwise difficult due to the minute size," the CSIRO was quoted by the Australian Associated Press as saying.
What CSIRO has done is take bugs from Canberra`s Australian National Insect Collection - an Aladdin`s cave of creepy crawlies - and used 3D technology to create a computer-aided design file of their exact dimensions, the report said adding `The bugs are then re-created in replica form, up to 50 times their original size in titanium, using a 3D printer.
At the moment, the bugs are being 3D printed in basic detail.
The report further said that in future CSIRO was hoping to replicate the creatures` anatomy down to the most minute feature.
The benefits are obvious for scientists.
"A doctor once said that having 3D images on a computer to plan a surgery is great, but to print the parts, to handle and examine them in clear detail is invaluable," CSIRO additive manufacturing operations manager Chad Henry was quoted as saying.
Three dimensional printing is not new. But the products the technique can make is rapidly evolving and last month NSW Police warned about a potentially lethal 3D gun invented in America.
Australian scientists are also researching ways to make replacement body parts, for transplants, from 3D prints.
Henry said he believes it`s only a matter of time before 3D printing is able to make living tissue.
CSIRO`s Melbourne-based 3D printing facility, Lab 22, is also developing a range of prototype products including biomedical implants, automotive, aerospace and defence parts for Australian industry.