Mosaic aims to bring color to cheap 3D printers

Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:08pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian tech start-up Mosaic is putting color into low-end 3D printers in a move to make the technology more accessible for everything from architectural modeling to medical training.

Mosaic is one of the latest in a slew of Canadian start-ups to jump into hardware, as the tech landscape, especially in the hardware segment enjoys a revival in Canada.

Canadian hardware, once dominated by BlackBerry Ltd and its devices, has been relatively quiet over the last decade. The slide in BlackBerry's fortunes has partially led to a surge in the number of Canadian hardware-focused start-ups in recent years.

Companies like Aeryon Labs, which makes drones, to Clearpath Robotics, which makes mobile robots and Nymi, the maker of a wristband that authenticates a person's identity by using their cardiac rhythm are among the firms leading the Canadian resurgence.

Montreal-based Mosaic is hoping to capitalize on a rapidly growing 3D printer market. More than 108,000 3D printers shipped in 2014 and numbers should double every year, hitting 2.3 million by 2018, according to a forecast from technology research firm Gartner.

"Parents will have a 3D printer at home for their secondary and post-secondary students taking design, engineering or arts courses," said Pete Basiliere, an imaging and print services analyst at Gartner.

"There is a vast market of consumers worldwide who have the means to afford a 3D printer for their home," he said.

Mosaic, whose device feeds multiple colors into the most common 3D printers, is taking pre-orders on a sub-$1,000 product called the Palette. The device offer an option to make 3D color prints and is compatible with most low-end 3D printers and should be compatible with future models as well.   Continued...