The 3D printing and AI startup Aether has reached a two-year joint agreement with Procter & Gamble to further develop its AI-driven 3D bioprinting system into an “intelligent robotic craftsman”.

Procter & Gamble, the multinational consumer goods giant, has agreed to a two-year developmental agreement with the San Francisco-based 3D printing and AI startup Aether. Through the new partnership, the two companies will work to further develop cutting-edge 3D printing and AI technologies.

Using the startup’s multi-tool bioprinter, the Aether 1 3D printer, Procter & Gamble hopes to develop an array of hardware and software capabilities that will help automate and improve product research applications. The collaborative effort will also aim to develop the next-generation of Aether 3D printers.

Unveiled back in 2016, the Aether 1 is designed for 3D bioprinting and hybrid manufacturing. It’s equipped with 24 toolheads that can be used simultaneously, enabling users to merge a variety of tools and materials during the printing process.

Since its release, Aether has worked with MIT researchers to test new biomaterials, while also developing AI-driven software to enable on-site 3D organ printing in hospitals.

Now, with Procter & Gamble at its side, Aether will have a crucial ally that will help improve the intelligence and automation of its unique 3D bioprinting ecosystem.

“Aether is working with P&G to completely redefine 3D printing. It’s no longer going to be just about depositing a material or two in a specific pattern. We’re building something more like an intelligent robotic craftsman, able to perform highly complex tasks with many different tools, visually evaluate and correct its work throughout the fabrication process, and constantly learn how to improve,” said Aether CEO and Founder Ryan Franks. 

Procter & Gamble Partners with Aether to Pioneer 3D Printing and Artifical Intelligence

The two companies will join forces to create an interconnected network of computer vision and AI algorithms in order to increase automation for multi-tool 3D printing. Utilizing an array of high-performance cameras, researchers will integrate them onto custom designed hardware to spark new robotics capabilities for 3D printing technology.

These developments include real-time in-situ print monitoring with a dynamic intelligent response for parameter adjustment and error correction, automated post-processing treatments, object recognition and manipulation, automation of multi-tool hybrid manufacturing processes, as well as an interface that will allow for new types of user interactions with the 3D printer.

Machine learning will also be a focus of the new agreement, as Aether is currently working on software that will allow Procter & Gamble to automate image processing, improving the speed over manual processing methods.

Multiple neural networks will be trained with deep learning techniques to achieve high-accuracy and automated 2D to 3D file conversion. These networks include convolutional neural networks, deep residual networks, generative query networks, and other generative neural networks.

By combining AI and robotics, Aether is striving to make multi-material and multi-tool bioprinting more efficient and capable of printing complex structures.

With the financial backing and ubiquitous commercial reach of Procter & Gamble, the startup should be able to actualize those groundbreaking ideas at a faster rate. In turn, scientists from the consumer goods giant will have a groundbreaking tool at their disposal, which should help to bolster their own products and bioprinting in general.

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