TORONTO: Canadian tech startup Mosaic is putting colour into low-end 3D printers in a move to make the technology more accessible for everything from architectural modelling to medical training.
Mosaic is one of the latest in a slew of Canadian startups to jump into hardware, as the tech landscape, especially in the hardware segment enjoys a revival in Canada.
Canadian hardware, once dominated by BlackBerry Ltd and its devices, has been relatively quiet over the last decade. The slide in BlackBerry's fortunes has partially led to a surge in the number of Canadian hardware-focused startups in recent years.
Companies like Aeryon Labs, which makes drones, to Clearpath Robotics, which makes mobile robots and Nymi, the maker of a wristband that authenticates a person's identity by using their cardiac rhythm are among the firms leading the Canadian resurgence.
Montreal-based Mosaic is hoping to capitalise on a rapidly growing 3D printer market. More than 108,000 3D printers shipped in 2014 and numbers should double every year, hitting 2.3 million by 2018, according to a forecast from technology research firm Gartner.
"Parents will have a 3D printer at home for their secondary and post-secondary students taking design, engineering or arts courses," said Pete Basiliere, an imaging and print services analyst at Gartner.
"There is a vast market of consumers worldwide who have the means to afford a 3D printer for their home," he said.
Mosaic, whose device feeds multiple colours into the most common 3D printers, is taking pre-orders on a sub-US$1,000 (RM3,614) product called the Palette. The device offer an option to make 3D colour prints and is compatible with most low-end 3D printers and should be compatible with future models as well.
Early indications are that interest in the Palette is high, as Mosaic, which began a crowd-funding campaign to raise some C$75,000 (RM221,763) for the first production run of the model on April 21, raised more than 90% of its goal within the first hour.
Some are already lining up to get their hands on the device that is expected to launch early next year. Paul Fotheringham, a former investment banker turned 3D print maven, plans to scoop up one of the first production models for a pilot project at a hospital in Liverpool.
Doctors there plan to scan a patient's cancerous organ and print a plastic model with bright red arteries and blue veins on which they can practise surgery. – Reuters