Bounce Imaging Develops Tactical Ball for First Responders with Rapid Manufacturing

Simply tossing a ball can make dangerous places safer for police, firefighters and other first responders — if that ball is the Explorer, a smartphone-enabled camera tucked inside a baseball-sized shell, developed by a Boston startup, Bounce Imaging.

Once the patented ball is rolled around a corner or down a darkened corridor, its six-eyed camera snaps images every half second in every direction until the ball comes to a stop. An image-processing algorithm in Bounce Imaging’s app assembles the images into a panoramic view for display on a mobile Android or iOS device.

Law enforcement can roll the tactical ball into unknown places to stream to live feedback.

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Indiegogo’s Andrew Erlick Joins Judges Panel for Cool Idea! Award

Indiegogo’s Andrew Erlick.

We’re excited to announce that Indiegogo‘s Director of Hardware, Design & Technology, Andrew Erlick, has been added to the judges panel of Proto Labs’ Cool Idea! Award program. Erlick’s experience at Indiegogo (the largest global crowdfunding platform) and Quirky (a social product development company) should prove valuable as he helps identify and select innovative product ideas to receive the award.

The Cool Idea! Award program, now in its fifth year, was established to help product designers and engineers bring useful concepts to market. Since 2011, nearly $1 million in custom prototyping and low-volume production services have been provided to entrepreneurs developing new products in the United States and Europe.

The program runs year-round and today marks the start of the July/August submission period. Apply now at protolabs.com/cool-idea.

Read our full press release announcement here.

Seamless Manufacturing Quotes Coming to Autodesk Fusion 360

We’ve teamed up with Autodesk to provide easy access to online quoting directly within Autodesk’s Fusion 360 CAD program.

By clicking the Proto Labs logo within Fusion 360, users will be able to get an interactive quote within a few hours that contains free design for manufacturability (DFM) analysis for injection molding or CNC machining. The analysis highlights potential manufacturability issues allowing design modifications to be made early before any actual production begins.

In addition to molding and machining, plans are underway to implement similar quoting functionality for parts that will be manufactured through our additive manufacturing (3D printing) service.

This software integration will go live with a late-July release of the Fusion 360 application update. Read our full press release here.

An Inside Look at Advanced 3D Printing

We’ve watched a design move from 3D CAD model to final part. We’ve stepped inside a high-speed CNC machine. And we’ve looked at how injection molding can produce quick-turn plastic, metal and liquid silicone rubber parts. We’re closing our video series with topic of many manufacturing conversations as of late: 3D printing.

Additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing) is increasingly being used to rapidly build prototypes and even functional, end-use parts. Proto Labs employs three advanced additive processes: stereolithography (SL), selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). Check out our short video to see how additive manufacturing at Proto Labs can help on your next project.

Proto Labs Recognized as Top Workplace

For the fifth consecutive year, Proto Labs has been honored with Top Workplace distinction from Minneapolis newspaper, Star Tribune.

The award winners, which were announced on June 14, were determined by a survey taken by employees at nearly 350 companies across Minnesota. The 22-question survey measured employee satisfaction in three categories: organizational health (company values, culture, leadership), job (pay, training, work/life balance) and engagement (employee motivation and desire to stay at company). Proto Labs ranked 28 in the large company category that includes businesses with 500+ employees. Check out the complete list of Top Workplaces at startribune.com.

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