BBC airs its first Winter Olympics advert, 3D printing technology features heavily

Astronauts test 3D bioprinted skin bandages in space
Boeing deploys 3D printing to halve the lead time of US Space Force asset
Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are testing 3D bioprinted bandages made of their own cells that could be used to better heal flesh wounds in space.

The German Space Agency (DLR) is leading the experiment which was launched to the ISS at the end of December 2021 on SpaceX’s 24th commercial resupply mission. The payload contained the BioPrint FirstAid Handheld Bioprinter, which is designed to hold cells from astronauts within a bioink that can be used to apply bandages to wounds when needed.

While the experiment offers a promising tool for wound healing in space environments, it could also provide significant benefits back on earth, too.

Extreme by Nature

Extreme by Nature aims to portray speed and excitement without the use of any moving parts. All of the still frames used in the ad are also 3D printed from a polymer material, meaning there’s no real ice or snow at any point.

The animation begins with a basic ice cube in the middle of the shot. The ice cube slowly cracks, frame-by-frame, to reveal a speed skater who then morphs into a slider, a skier, a snowboarder, and eventually a figure skater. Finally, the ad culminates in a sequence of ‘ice sculptures’ depicting the various sports that are set to feature at the games.

Simon described the creation of the film as a huge challenge, especially when it came to the camerawork for the 3D printed snow scenes. To get the viewer to feel like the motion was actually real, the team leveraged a mix of printed action and camera movements.

He explains, “We started to think about cameras differently: some of their motion would be directly ‘printed’, and some would be actual movement of the control rig.”

Building hype for the Winter Olympics

The debut ad was first aired on 22 January during Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel on BBC One. Going forward, the animation will be the BBC’s title sequence for the Winter Olympics and run during ad breaks across the various BBC channels.

Interestingly, Extreme by Nature doesn’t mention China at all, despite it being the host country.
Shooting the 3D printed scenes. Photo via BBC.
Additive manufacturing also made several appearances at the Tokyo Olympics, which ran from 23 July – 8 August 2021. Automotive manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group 3D printed a set of bow grips for the Korean archery team, helping them take home gold in the men’s, women’s, and mixed team categories at this year’s games.

Aluminum specialist Fehrmann Alloys also 3D printed a rudder blade suspension that helped propel the Australian sailing team to victory. The part was manufactured using Fehrmann’s high-performance AlMgty alloy at the request of Hamburg-based boatyard Ziegelmayer, a leading manufacturer of Olympic sailboats in the 470 class.
Editor's Note: This article is originally appeared on by Kubi Sertoglu