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With the toy industry stagnating due to competition from digital games, Lego is among the companies looking at 3D printing as a potential fix. The Danish plastic brick manufacturer told The Financial Times that it is considering “what potential opportunities there are for consumers.” Legos are very easy to print on home 3D printers (in fact, some people are already printing them). 3D printing also opens up the opportunity for highly customized shapes, which could expand what people are able to make. But Lego isn’t considering 3D printing bricks itself; it’s more about printing them efficiently, and currently prints about 2,000 bricks a second.

In Brief

Meta’s MetaPro Glasses are coming this summer, and they look like they will be a big competitor in the augmented reality space. The Palo Alto startup released a video today showcasing how the glasses work, including a demonstration of how they can be used to design a 3D object and then begin making it on a 3D printer. An actor in the video also uses his hands to smash together a virtual sun and moon with fiery results.

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In Brief

Every time SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket returns to Earth, it crashes heavily into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a crude but effective way to cushion the rocket’s landing. SpaceX wants to make the Falcon 9’s return to Earth more gentle by adding landing legs, which eventually could allow it to land on solid ground. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted a picture of the rocket with attached legs today, and stated in another tweet that the company will begin testing the feature next month. The Falcon 9 will continue to land in the ocean for now, but use the legs to soften the impact.

In Brief

NASA’s Curiosity rover drives over the rocky surface of Mars on aluminum wheels, which are becoming pockmarked with holes much faster than predicted. This week, NASA decided to go ahead and drive the rover backward for 329 feet; a technique developed during testing on Earth to better preserve the wheels. The agency also reassessed Curiosity’s route to Mount Sharp, where the rover is expected to find water-related minerals, to be easier on the aluminum.

In Brief

Chuck Hull of 3D Systems invented the first-ever 3D printer in the early 1980s. The first thing he printed? A tiny cup that could serve as an eye wash, according to a CNN interview. The printer worked similarly to its descendants today: a laser seals together particles of material to build an object layer by layer.

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For $20 a month, startup pharmacy PillPack will deliver your drug prescriptions by mail. The service relies on a team of robots that dispense and inspect packets filled with patients’ daily doses. The packets are designed to make it simple for patients to keep track of if they have taken their pills.

In Brief

Five months after Kickstarter backers awarded 3D scanner maker Fuel3D with more than $325,000, private investors have chipped in with an additional $2.6 million in early stage financing. Fuel3D said the money will go toward development of its scanner. The company will also pursue another financing round before the summer and potentially file for an IPO as soon as next year.

In Brief

Just two months after landing on the moon, China’s first moon rover has been declared permanently broken. Jade Rabbit began having problems late last month, and operators were unable to restore it to working order. New Scientist reports that the failure is likely due to a mechanical fault that led to the rover exposing its sensitive equipment to cold nighttime temperatures. The fault may have been caused by lunar dust, which can quickly scratch up equipment.

In Brief

Images sent back to Earth by NASA’s Mars orbiters show a curious feature: long black lines that scientists believe could have been created by flowing liquid water. While Mars is too cold for the fresh and salt water that fills Earth’s oceans and lakes, water on Mars could contain chemicals that act as an antifreeze, allowing it to stay liquid. Scientists have noticed that the flows happen seasonally. It’s possible that there is no water involved at all, but they aren’t yet sure how that could be explained.

NASA Mars water flow

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