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MX3D: Bridging the Virtual + Real

The Times visits Dutch design firm, MX3D to learn more about the 3D printed, stainless steel pedestrian bridge they have designed to span the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in their home city, Amsterdam. While being truly innovative in its use of steel as substrate and large scale robot as the extruder, the bridge will also be achieving a first by being layered with a full array of smart sensors provided by the Allan Turing Institute. These sensors will allow the bridge to not only report its current condition, allowing for day-to-day optimization and repair but also enable the creation of a 1:1 digital twin. The virtual bridge will make experimentation and future forecasting a much more accurate proposition since all parameters will be exactly those of the physical bridge in real time.

Assignment Idea: Fabric of the Community


Think about the structures that one may currently see in the cities, suburbs and rural towns around us. These could include: pedestrian bridges, outdoor lighting, benches, bus stops, ramps, irrigation, etc. Choose one structure or item and identify how a 3D printed replacement could change the way the current structure or item is used and perceived? How could it better benefit the community of users? What challenges might occur in design and implementation? 


Subject Areas

Architecture, Agriculture, Engineering, Landscape Design, Urban Studies


  • comparison of design, construction and use of existing item vs 3D portioned equivalent (Venn diagram, Compare/Contrast, etc)
  • sketch of 3D printed proposal
  • 3D print of proposed design (optional)
  • short Spark post describing the proposed benefits of the 3D printed alternative, including embeds of the sketch and (optional) photos of the printed object