A team of researchers in Lithuania have build a 3D printer that uses an ultrasonic array to build simple circuit boards. This is similar to the approach used by Ultrahaptics in Bristol for 3D touch sensing.
The printer developed by the Ultrasound Research Group at Neurotechnology in Vilnius uses an array of ultrasonic pulses with feedback from a high resolution camera to move small objects around. This is particularly suitable for tiny components such as chip resistors or balls of solder. By increasing the frequency of the pulses, the placement resolution can be reduced to a few microns, says Dr Osvaldas Putkis, research engineer and project lead. The solder balls can be moved around by the array to the pads, and components are soldered to the board with a laser for a completely non-contact process.
Neurotechnology develops algorithms for biometric security and artificial intelligence systems and has patented the technology. It is now looking at partners to develop the technology commercially.
More details are at: Ultrasonic 3D printer builds circuit boards on EEnews Europe