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Apr 27, 2017 09:23 AM EDT

Cornell University's student startup, Dimitri, is looking to make 3D printing more accessible for consumers. The eLab members behind Dimitri are Val Mack MPS'17, Khalil Hajji M.Eng '17, Mutahir Kazmi M.Eng '17, and Leo Jingyang Liu M.Arch '18.

The idea started when Mack was first intrigued by the concept of 3D printing during her apprenticeship with a New York City watchmaker. She saw its value for individual consumers and wondered if it could offer consumers the ability to create things that they really need for themselves. Mack realized that with 3D printing, there should be a market for people who want customized products that fit them really well.

The team has been a member of eLab since 2016, a business accelerator program at Cornell. Dimitri is working on software that would help 3D printing users improve products and make the 3D printers more reliable. The goal was to develop software to make 3D printing easier.

The team wanted to learn more about other creative ways on how different industries use 3D printing. They spoke with students, faculty and experts in various industries including Food Ink, which is the first 3D-printing restaurant. Food Ink is based in London and has all furniture, food and utensils created from 3D printing technology.

In December, during eLab's annual Pitch Night NYC at Wilmer Hale Building, NY, Dimitri pitched to a group of more than 50 alumni and prospective advisors. The feedback served as a good learning experience for the team as it taught them that their assumptions about the technology were wrong. It helped Dimitri turn their focus on using 3D printing to create customized consoles for shoes.

Using imaging software to scan an individual's feet, they were able to generate a 3D model, which was used to design custom-fit insoles created by desktop 3D printers. The team will start with shoes to develop the perfect fit for each individual customer based on the unique shape.

Knowing the limitations of 3D printing and determining areas where innovation is desperately needed, they are working on making 3D printing possible for average consumers, Cornell reported.

Follows cornell, 3D printing, Cornell University, student startup, Dimitri, 3D, Val Mack MPS'17, Khalil Hajji M.Eng '17, Mutahir Kazmi M.Eng '17, Leo Jingyang Liu M.Arch '18, eLab, Pitch Night NYC, Food Ink
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