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The 3D printing trailblazers on MIT’s ‘Innovators Under 35 List’

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Every year, a curated selection of young innovators from across research and industry are highlighted in the prestigious “Innovators Under 35 List” published by the MIT Technology Review. The list, which traditionally comprises the top 35 under 35 innovators, recognizes people who are conducting work that has the potential to change the world.

MIT Innovators Under 35 List

This year, MIT Technology Review expanded the scope of its list to include more geographic regions and, as a consequence, there are now three Innovators from the 3D printing industry named. As the MIT Technology Review magazine said: “We believe innovation can happen anywhere. That is why we’ve expanded our search for the most innovative people to include these regions.”

Though each Innovator on the annual list is worth looking at in depth, we’re most interested in highlighting three that come from the world of 3D printing: Erik Gatenholm, the co-founder of bioprinting company CELLINK; Mohamed Dhaouafi, the founder and CEO of CURE; and Tim Ellis, the co-founder and CEO of Relativity Space.

Erik Gatenholm

MIT Innovators Under 35 List
Erik Gatenholm, Co-Founder and CEO, CELLINK

Swedish-born Erik Gatenholm was honored under the list’s Europe category, which brought to the fore an array of innovative projects. At 3dpbm, we’ve covered Gatenholm’s journey closely over the years and have seen his company, CELLINK, grow into one of the leading players in bioprinting.

CELLINK was founded by Gatenholm in 2016 with the aim of marketing a bioink developed by his father which could be used with any bioprinter. “I saw an opportunity to use this bioink material,” Gatenholm said. “My father said he was delighted, but he had no interest in bringing it to market.”

Fast forward to today and CELLINK has brought to market a range of bioprinting products, including bioprinting hardware and various bioink materials. Its technologies and products are used in over 700 laboratories around the world and the company itself has grown to a nearly 200-person, global operation.

Mohamed Dhaouafi

MIT Innovators Under 35 List
Mohamed Dhaouafi, Founder and CEO, CURE

27-year-old Mohamed Dhaouafi is the founder and CEO of CURE, a Tunisia-based startup that helps rehabilitate young amputees with customizable 3D printed bionic hands and immersive physical therapy.

The young entrepreneur, who was honored by MIT for the MENA region, has undertaken a number of projects aimed at youth empowerment in Tunisia. His startup CURE leverages current technologies like 3D printing and virtual reality to help children who have suffered an amputation.

Specifically, CURE provides each youth with a $1,000 3D printed bionic hand, which can be customized to the wearer. The company is also notable for its use of VR and gamification, which involves the kids directly in the design of their prosthetic. CURE provides an immersive rehabilitation experience for users through which they can customize and design their prosthetics.

Tim Ellis

MIT Innovators Under 35 List
Tim Ellis, Co-Founder and CEO, Relativity Space

The third Innovator from the world of 3D printing is Tim Ellis, the co-founder and CEO of Relativity Space, an aerospace startup that has become known for its large-scale metal additive manufacturing technology.

At Relativity Space, Ellis pioneered an approach which combines metal 3D printing, machine learning and automated manufacturing to construct next-gen rockets and satellites. The multifaceted technique has enabled the company to consolidate rocket components significantly and streamline production.

At the center of the company’s process is its large-scale metal 3D printer, which measures 20 feet in height. The impressive system—called Stargate—is capable of producing 95% of parts for a rocket measuring up to 10 feet in diameter and 100 feet in height.

“We founded Relativity with the long-term vision of 3D-printing the first rocket made on Mars,” said Ellis. “Over time we’ll actually shrink the factory to the point where then we could launch it to another planet.”

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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