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Over the past year, San Francisco space startup Planet Labs sent a trickle of shoebox-sized satellites into space. Next month, it will send a deluge when its new fleet of 28 “Doves” launch. It announced today that it will do so with the help of $52 million in Series B funding, led by Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner. Felicis Ventures, Lux Capital, Industry Ventures and Ray Rothrock also joined as new investors. Planet Labs’ satellites take images of the Earth, which can provide data to the agriculture, environmental and other industries. The images are available to anyone for a fee.

In Brief

Like other organs, eyes sometimes need to be replaced with a transplant, and that transplant comes from a person who agreed to donate their organs upon their death. In the future, it might be a lot easier to acquire an eye transplant thanks to 3D printing. University of Cambridge researchers published a paper today detailing how they used an ink printer to print multiple types of rat eye cells; the first time anyone has been able to keep eye cells healthy and at the right consistency to flow out of a nozzle. It’s a first step toward being able to 3D print an artificial eye for a human.

In Brief

KeyMe is the modern alternative to getting your keys copied at the hardware store. You can make a copy at a kiosk machine or upload photos to the cloud and have a copy delivered. Now, you can also order a 3D printed copy of your key, complete with a top customized to look like anything from your kid’s face to your initials. KeyMe paired up with 3D printing company Shapeways to offer the service. Prices range from $10 to $4,000 for plastic, brass or gold keys.
KeyMe 3D printed keys

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In Brief

NASA announced today it has entered negotiations with SpaceX to allow private use of the historic Kennedy Space Center launch pad, where every NASA launch since 1968, including the first mission to the Moon, took place. NASA plans to open the center up to both government and private sector use. SpaceX has already completed contract work for the government, including delivering supplies to the International Space Station.

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A London designer and researcher has prototyped shoes that repair themselves overnight. How? They’re made of protocells, which are non-living molecules that can be added together to create materials that respond to stimuli like pressure or light. The protocells are 3D printed to fit the wearer’s foot perfectly and puff up to create extra cushioning when needed.

On The Web

In conjunction with an announcement it selected Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. to perform studies for its mission, Mars One said today it will push back its launch to 2018. That means its crew, which will be chosen from the more than 200,000 civilians who applied, will land on Mars in 2025.

On The Web

3D Systems, one of the largest and oldest 3D printer companies, will be able to offer on-demand ceramic 3D prints after purchasing printing service site Figulo. 3D Systems will incorporate Figulo into its software, allowing users to instantly order a print.

3D Systems also announced a series of updates to its professional line of 3D printers this week, including full-color printing and a new line of printing materials.

In Brief

2D printing veteran HP announced in October that it plans to enter the 3D printing market by mid-2014, but the details released since then have been slim. Wired reporter Robert McMillan was able to catch a glimpse of the prototype printer that sits in HP’s basement. He  described it as a “a five-foot tall giant of a machine cobbled together from existing jumbo-scale metal printing parts and some new custom-built equipment that HP isn’t ready to talk about.” HP has also developed a new plastic for the machine to use to make objects.

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The objects that come out of design firm Nervous System’s 3D printers may look like a crumpled ball at first, but when you unravel them they transform into dresses, jewelry and other flexible, wearable items. Geometric designs integrated into the items can make them rigid or soft.

On The Web

3D printers can offer us a tangible way to connect with the highly specialized characters and objects we see in the media. Warner Bros. announced today it will offer up a 3D file for the “Key to Erebor,” which is a prop in the upcoming “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” film. This is the first instance I’ve seen of a major institution using downloadable 3D files as a marketing technique.

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