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Vontobel blue - Technologie

16 Vontobel blue Theme Your favourite dish – fresh from the printer Fatto in casa – “homemade” – could take on a whole new di- mension in the near future. Indeed, if the Italian food producer Barilla has its way, this new dimension would be the third di- mension, as the company is currently conducting research on a 3-D printer for restaurants. The emergence of 3-D printing has given wings to some inspired ideas for products that could be created with this technology: prototypes, machine parts, furniture, prostheses, clothing and much more. Using the innovative coating-based printing pro- cess, materials such as plastic, ceramic or metal can be formed into almost any shape. In the food industry, 3-D printing technology is also of interest. A Dutch research firm is exploring the possibility for the Italian food company Barilla of producing pasta and pizza using a 3-D food printer. “Since the project began, we have made use of some highly developed printers in our laboratories,” says project manager Kjeld van Bommel. “In principle, we can produce any shape, and now we are working on the speed.” Barilla’s goal not to aim for mass production; but rather to sell food printers and cartridges to restaurants. A computer instead of wooden pegs A sphere the size of a tennis ball, a robotics-type arm, a laptop – these are the basic elements of the multi-award winning busi- ness idea behind ReHaptix, a start-up which recently won the prestigious competition for young entrepreneurs Venture 2014. People with neurological injuries often suffer from impaired hand function. However, with therapy they can often regain their motor skills. Up till now, a commonly used test used to determine manual dexterity has been for patients to pick up nine wooden pegs out of a bowl, one by one, and insert them into the matching holes in a board. The therapist would use a stopwatch to time this process, and afterward make a subjective judgment based on his observations. Neuroscientist Marie-Christine Fluet and banker Sophie Wink- ler-Payot have digitised this test with the collaboration of the Technological development strides forward at an ever faster pace, assuring that products and services are continually being improved. Truly break- through technologies arise when researchers blaze new trails – that’s when solutions can sometimes seem very futuristic indeed. Text: Patrick Preuss Shaping the future. Theme ©ReHaptix

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