back to article Xeroxiraptor: Boffins to print 3D robot dinosaur

Dino-loving boffins in the US have embarked on their very own Jurassic Park-esque experiment to bring the actions of Earth's favourite prehistoric lizards to life. 3D printer creates dino bones for robots The researchers, from Philadelphia's Drexel University, are using 3D printing to create dino-bones and then attaching …


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  1. Nick 10

    "Rise Of The Machines" and "Can They Open Doors" combined? I for one welcome our robotic dino-overlords!

    1. stucs201
      Thumb Up

      So essentially Jurassic Park meets Westworld?

      Lets see about combining the plots of those:

      One is a film about a theme park where the attractions get out of control and start killing people, based on a book by Michael Crichton. The other is a film about a theme park where the attractions get out of control and start killing people, based on a book by Michael Crichton.

      Shouldn't be too hard...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scaled down? Pussies! Build a full-sized one and put a saddle on it! I have money waiting...

  3. Rob

    "...adding that a six-inch model of a bone can be printed in a few hours."

    At this rate it'll take another 150 years to build one of these robots.

    1. Glen 1

      Re: "...adding that a six-inch model of a bone can be printed in a few hours."

      if they try to make a load more, they might be 65 million years in the making....

  4. Malmesbury

    Most dinosaur remains are distorted by the fossilisation process - wonder if they are going to reverse this?

  5. annodomini2

    Dinobots - but which part of the series

    Are they Autobots or Decepticons???

  6. Graham Bartlett

    Rule 34

    How long to print a six-inch model of a boner...?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rule 34

      Why not make it life size? oh you mean your's is only ....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Technology in paleontology hasn't changed in about 150 years,”

    Actually, that's total crap. The biggest advance in paleontology was about a decade or so ago, when they first started doing computer modeling of bone and muscle structure to do, well, basically, what they're planning to do here, only in a computer model. That breakthrough was responsible, amongst other things, for the radical change in how diplodocus and other long-necked long-tailed were understood to work, and how dinos in general were understood to move. The seminal Walking With Dinosaurs was based on this work. This new 3d printing thing is entirely deriviative.

  8. dotdavid

    Printed life-size dinos are pretty cool...

    ...but if you're just trying to model movement, why bother printing them? Can't you just 3D scan the bones and then build and move a virtual model? Or am I missing the point?

    Pirate because I wonder whether they'll put the models on the Pirate Bay so you could print your own dino.

    1. voice of unreason

      Re: Printed life-size dinos are pretty cool...

      I'm sorry, I THINK that what both this and the previous post just said is "Why do I need to do the experiment, when we've already modelled it on the computer"

      Welcome back, ancient Greek dude. You natural philosophers zoned out there for a while after the Enlightenment in the 18th Century. With your four elements and humours 'n' stuff derived from pure reason as to how the universe must work. How right you were. Messy experiments are for children, not people who already understand the universe....

      Cutting the sarcasm, the reason is that the one thing which never fails to jar when watching CGI is just how unnatural animal movements are. And crucially how it has NOT IMPROVED in ten years. Not one iota. There will be howls of protest, but sorry, no, the emperor has no clothes, and CGI movement is bad. The articulation is fine, but any idiot can see that the muscles and tendons are simply not modelled - there is never any tension or gravity.

      The conclusion is that this stuff is HARD, not that animators are stupid, but there is a major gap here - CGI is a minimum of 20 years away from solving this. I personally don't know what the problem is. It is "apparently" clear that this is THE big money problem in CGI, and that the amount of processing for a FE model of a decent muscle is way, way less than radiosity for hair, or polygon count for a landscape, and yet we are where we are. Visibly and embarassingly so.

      1. Mephistro

        Re: Re: Printed life-size dinos are pretty cool...

        Sorry, Mr. voice, but IMHO you post conflates "Technically impossible to do" with "Too expensive for a semi-crappy CGI documentary". The scientists have been using computer mechanical simulations of dinosaurs for a long time. The computer models can be made as complex as required, including things like effects of muscle pressure on nearby muscles, balance and weight of the 'pieces', mechanical resistance to traction... . Those are things you'll have trouble putting in a mechanical model.

        Anyway I'm sure there are also a few areas in which having also mechanical models would help the researchers's work.

        1. voice of unreason

          Re: Re: Re: Printed life-size dinos are pretty cool...

          I wish, but not correct.

          The computer models *CAN* be made as complex as required, but they are WRONG. I will say that again. There is something wrong with the models. A "crappy" CGI documentary, I don't know, but the bottom line was that Jurassic Park had as much money thrown at it as God, and but is still clearly *WRONG*. Very, very good for CGI, and astonishing for animals that haven't lived for 65 million years.

          But if you want to see muscle pressure on nearby muscles, go and look at a Bernini or a Michelangelo (male). That's what muscles look like. Ain't no computer model that comes CLOSE.

          1. Mephistro

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Printed life-size dinos are pretty cool...

            "There is something wrong with the models"

            Could you please be more specific?

            And, just to clarify my point:

            What we see in CGI -i.e. WWD- is an artwork. Paleontologists define the bone models, mark the places where the articulations go and give some other parameters. The CGI artists try to make a dinosaur inside those parameters. A paleontologist checks the results and gives them -hopefully- an OK.

            What the 'complex computer models' are for is for testing whether a given arrangement of muscles is 'functional' or not, and whether it supports the kind of locomotion attributed to that species, or if that attributed locomotion is possible or makes sense at all.

            "...go and look at a Bernini or a Michelangelo..."

            Bernini and Michelangelo had a big advantage over paleontologists studying dinosaurs. They had living models. If we had living dinosaurs nobody would be bothering at all with this 'computer model' crap. Observation and an autopsy now and then would suffice.

  9. Mike Moyle


    "The boffins will also be using the 3D printing technology to create a "virtual zoo of cretaceous New Jersey""

    They're too late. "The Jersey Shore" has already been done.

  10. Robin Bradshaw

    As the AC mentioned, its largely been done

    They just didnt print out plastic toys to take home.

  11. Mike Richards Silver badge

    I demand all other science (yes even LOHAN) is stopped this moment until robot dinosaurs are made real.

    And can we scrap this silly 'scaled down' requirement?

  12. Christoph

    Scaled down? Scaled DOWN?

    1> Build scaled UP fricking giant lizard

    2> Fit it with motors and controls

    3> Attack Tokyo!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scaled down? Scaled DOWN?

      4> ?????

      5> Profit!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cue XKCD

    Cue XKCD in 3... 2... 1....

  14. darkmage0707077

    Art(?) Imitates Reality

    Now all we need is a pirate-ninja cyborg Abraham Lincoln to ride around on it, and the internet will have succeeded in phase one of its invasion into our reality...

  15. K. Adams

    I, for one, welcome...

    our polymerized prehistoric paleoimpact overlords!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is pretty cool ...

    ... but kinda wondering how a scaled down model can give an accurate representation for research?

    Surely the very mass of these massive creatures had a huge impact on the dynamics of their movements?

    Bone density? - Surely that would work hand in hand with how the sinew and muscle worked alongside the bone structure?

    The truth is, a great deal of the research is always going to be based on conjecture - nature is constantly amazing us and for all we know, T-Rex may have hopped around like a kangaroo. Unlikely, but possible.

    Scaled down physics just doesn't work - we know this - so although it's a cool idea, I can't see it giving any serious insight into the mechanics of dinosaurs.

  17. sisk

    Robotic velociraptors?

    Heaven help us all...

  18. dogged

    I just wanted to say

    huge kudos for "Xeroxiraptor" since this bunch of ingrates didn't bother.

  19. Martin Budden Silver badge

    What they need to do next is work out how to scan the bone while it is still in the ground. Then they can print and study dino skeletons *without* having to dig them up, and for the first time paleontology will be non-invasive. Now THAT would be the first big leap in paleontology in 150 years.

  20. Andy 70
    Thumb Up

    my first though was real "zoids" if you remeber those, and then i saw:-

    "cretaceous New Jersey" is that with a cretaceous Snooki and co?

  21. SirDigalot

    the question is

    can they make a T-rex Fly an F14, if not, i am not interested...

  22. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge
    Paris Hilton

    I've never seen any of these printers in action. Does it do anti aliasing? That dino is going to wake up with a severe case of arthritis if it wasn't printed smoothly.

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