February 8, 2013
3D Printing of high tech tags helps scientists track big fish
CSIRO scientists are using 3D printing to build a new generation of hi-tech fish tags made of titanium. The aim is to use the tags to track big fish such as marlin, tuna, swordfish, trevally and sharks for longer periods.
CSIRO is printing the tags at its 3D printing facility, Lab 22, in Melbourne. The tags are printed overnight and then shipped to Tasmania where marine scientists are trialing them.
Tags are made of titanium for several reasons: the metal is strong, resists the salty corrosiveness of the marine environment and is biocompatible (non-toxic to living tissues).
One of the advantages of 3D printing is that it enables rapid manufacture of multiple design variations which can then be tested simultaneously. "Using our Arcam 3D printing machine, we've been able to re-design and make a series of modified tags within a week," says John Barnes, who leads CSIRO's research in titanium technologies.
... Above video, tracks of tagged fish and 3D animations of fish in their underwater environment.
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