InnoCentive, an innovation and crowdsourcing company, has posted a challenge from an investor who is looking for a way to create a 3D printer that prints using cotton.
InnoCentive connects seekers such as commercial enterprises, with “solvers”, who come up creative solutions. InnoCentive hosts competitions, often with financial incentives.
For this challenge, a mystery “seeker” is looking to bridge the gap between current available 3D printing technology, and the as-of-yet undiscovered method for 3D printing cotton fibers.
“The Seeker desires proposals for 3D printing technology that use cotton fibers, or material derived from cotton fibers, as the printing material or substrate,” the challenge states. “The Seeker is interested in ways that cotton can be used with currently existing 3D printing technology, or a novel 3D printing technology that uses cotton. A futuristic application would be for the printing of apparel or other products – i.e. where an article of cotton clothing can be printed, constructed, or formed directly on a 3D printer.”
For all of the advancements in 3D printing materials, cotton fiber cannot yet be printed. The ability to 3D print cotton would be a major breakthrough, and could have a great impact on product manufacturing. With the invention of a 3D printer for cotton fibers, the doors would be opened to a range of possibilities. It could lead to furthering fashion, and customized and precisely tailored clothing.
The nameless seeker has offered a prize as incentive for this cotton-based 3D printer challenge. The total payout for awards will be $7,000, with one award being at least $5000, with no award being smaller than $1,000.
The challenge is open until February 23rd, when the seeker will decide on the best submission.
Interested in learning more about the challenge? Head over to InnoCentive!