Posted on 07/11/2020
At Mattalabs we are developing AI and technology to enable 3D printers to kickstart the next industrial revolution. We are creating the first self-learning global 3D printer network using advanced computer vision and machine learning to reduce waste, save time, and improve efficiency.
Now that the classic elevator pitch blurb is out the way, what do we really do and what are we about?
Hello, I am Douglas Brion the founder of Mattalabs. I have been obsessed with 3D printing ever since I built my very first machine at the age of 14 (and I currently own / have built over 20… serious issues). As a PhD Student at the University of Cambridge, I am pushing the boundaries of extrusion based 3D printing by combining the latest deep learning research with cutting edge printing systems to enable the manufacture of highly complex devices, geometries, and materials. With these years of experience both as a researcher, and a user of printers, I know the amazing potential and bright future that the technology can bring to many industries; however, I also am acutely aware of the current limitations and frustrations with 3D printing, which has led me to develop the technology we are working on at Mattalabs.
At present 3D printers, although remarkable and mesmerising, are not very smart. The majority of machines have no idea whether they are printing an object correctly or not, leading to failures and poor-quality prints. This wastes materials, energy and most importantly valuable time, as 3D printing is a slow process with prints taking many hours to complete. Due to this lack of awareness in todays’ printers, many users find themselves handcuffed to their printers, continuously checking that their hasn’t gone wrong yet… Phew! Studies have shown that around 31% of material is wasted by FDM 3D printers in realistic conditions, which 17% of material wasted just due to errors. Furthermore, one of the major advantages of 3D printing is its unique ability to fabricate bespoke items, but at present without the required intelligence, quality control, and error detection this capability cannot be fully utilised… spoiler we provide this intelligence.
This is where we come in with our software, Mattacloud. Mattacloud utilises any low-cost camera, like a webcam you are using for Zoom in these unusual times, which can be added to existing or new 3D printers with ease. Using the latest deep learning techniques, we analyse the printing process to determine when errors occur, notify the users and automatically terminate and restart the print. We are currently still testing our detection algorithms in house to ensure they are working reliably before launch; however, in order to test our infrastructure and get feedback from the community we are releasing a Beta version of the Mattacloud Free plan. With this cloud software we enable full remote control and management of your 3D printers with temperature control, file management, print history, analytics, and much, much more. Data collected by our Beta testers will be used for training AI models and networks to improve 3D printing for all. Interested in joining the effort? We want you and are printers so sign up to the Mattacloud Free Plan now! When we have learned about the use of this cloud software, and have fixed the bugs/issues that no doubt arise, we will begin to roll out more and more features of our error detection AI solution. We would greatly appreciate your feedback along the way - please notify us of problems you are experiencing or get in touch to suggest new features!
The more prints completed with our AI system the smarter this system becomes. We are working on future intelligent analytics and feedback so companies can monitor their 3D printer usage and get suggestions for how to improve their efficiency and success rates.
In the background we are also working on the development of a revolutionary all-in-one manufacturing platform with this intelligence in-built, enabling future engineers to print in confidence with numerous materials and manufacturing processes in one machine… the user presses a single button and the printer takes care of the rest - handling multiple materials and processing techniques whilst performing live error detection and quality monitoring - the stresses of 3D printing are completely removed out of the user’s mind. I should stop talking about this or I will get carried away (more on this in the future).
Mattalabs is based out of Cambridge in the UK, so naturally our work is fuelled in true British fashion by constant mugs of tea and vast quantities of biscuits. Our dream is for our services and products to bring intelligence to the field of 3D printing, enabling the technology to reach its true potential. Furthermore, with this added intelligence we hope to make 3D printing even easier bringing the technology to more and more users around the world, who come from different backgrounds and work in a wide variety of sectors.
In short, hello! We think 3D printers are awesome, and with our technology they will be even more awesome. We sincerely hope that we’ve convinced you of this as well – or, at the very least, that you’re now curious enough to go out and buy a printer to see for yourself!
Posted on 07/11/2020
At Mattalabs we are developing AI and technology to enable 3D printers to kickstart the next industrial revolution. We are creating the first self-learning global 3D printer network using advanced computer vision and machine learning to reduce waste, …