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Get Smart! America Makes Launches Smart Structure Challenge

When it comes to supporting the 3D printing scene in North America, the USA’s America Makes 3D printing institute is a true pioneer and accelerator. As the original hub in the government’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), the institute includes a wide variety of experts and innovators in the 3D printing field. Since being founded in 2012, America Makes has funded numerous advanced additive manufacturing-based projects, including electronics 3D printing, work with metal alloys, and important quality control initiatives. America Makes has also hosted a number of startup competitions to help young 3D printing companies get off of the ground.

Now, the institute has just announced the America Makes Smart Structure Challenge. They’re searching for innovators or organizations capable of 3D printing ‘smart’ structures, integrated devices that include components such as sensors. The challenge is labelled as a “Reduction-to-Practice Challenge”, which requires both a written proposal and experimental proof-of-concept data or sample delivery. The written proposal should offer a documentation of both the smart structure and the 3D printing process used to build it.

“Producing smart structures has been a long-standing promise of additive manufacturing that remains unfulfilled. America Makes would like to understand and further the state of the art of this potentially disruptive technology,” said Catherine Covington, Program Manager of Innocentive. “Solvers who can effectively demonstrate this capability will have a chance of winning an America Makes membership.”


The grand prize is a Silver-level Membership to America Makes, which will last a year and has a value of approximately $15,000. Membership with America Makes offers a number of different benefits, including access to valuable intellectual property, technical presentations, project calls, and much more. The deadline for America Makes Smart Structure Challenge is May 11, 2016. Continuing upon their leadership in the North American 3D printing world, America Makes is looking to, both figuratively and literally, make 3D printing technology ‘smarter’. If you think you have what it takes to print a smart structure, you can apply to the America Makes Smart Structure Challenge here.