3D printers, for the most part, aren’t cheap, especially if you need to link up a computer to it, but what if there was a way for you to print 3D objects without the need for a computer? We can only imagine that would be incredibly handy in places where computers are hard to access, such as in developing countries. This is where 15-year old South African students, Gerhard de Clercq and Pieter Scholtz, come in. Both students have won a gold medal at the Northern Gauteng Science Expo for creating an app that sends commands to a home-built RepRap 3D printer, allowing the printer to print 3D objects without the need of a computer.

They managed to successfully print a Nokia Lumia 820 case from their Lumia 920 device, where the case’s 3D model was sent via Bluetooth through the app directly to the printer, and performing the cutting directly on the phone itself. While we’re not sure what the implications are for this method, the goal was to reduce the cost of 3D printing, and one of the ways to go about doing that was to remove the need for a computer. With smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 520 being cheap and extremely popular in developing countries, it would make sense.

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