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CMU Working With Disney To Research 3-D Printing

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It seems like 3D printing, computer driven objects of plastic and metal, is a science fiction fantasy come to life.

Among the pioneers is Carnegie Mellon University and Human-Computer Interaction Professor Scott Hudson who has helped to mold a new technology.

"Push a button, and then after some time, it takes a while for these things to print, that form will appear as you specified it on the computer," Professor Hudson says. "And that really opens up a lot of new capabilities."

In a computer science lab opened by the Walt Disney Company, CMU has teamed up with Disney Research to push 3D printing to a new level. Described as a cross between a 3D printer and a sewing machine, the new device actually produces products made of yarn. Like teddy bears.

Professor Hudson's needle felting machine currently takes six hours to make one bear.

The time and quality will improve, and future applications could move from little bears to custom clothing.

"It's very expensive to have something that's completely custom for me, whereas here every single one can be different," Hudson says. "It can be exactly my size."

And he's not just spinning a yarn.

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