The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a trade association representing the United States consumer technology industry, announced the new group of honorees in its 2020 Consumer Technology Hall of Fame, naming parallel18 graduate, re: 3D Inc., as “Company of the Year” for 2020.
The association celebrates leaders in the technology industry who advance innovation and develop, create, market and promote the technologies, products and services that improve the lives of consumers.
Re: 3D is the creator of the Gigabot, an affordable industrial 3D printer that can print directly using plastic waste, allowing anyone in the world to access their own personal 3D factory.
“We still are stunned to be named alongside a group of technologists we admire, and are proud to represent innovation in Puerto Rico through the support of P18 and the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust,” said Samantha Snabes, co-founder of re: 3D.
After traveling with Johnson Space Center’s “Engineers Without Borders” while working for NASA, Snabes and her team observed three common problems faced by underserved communities around the world: excessive waste (often plastic), a dependence on outside groups to bringing in resources/support; and lack of jobs/economic opportunities.
Convinced that 3D printing could be a tool to allow economic independence; and that innovation resources should be accessible to all, Houston-based re: 3D was founded.
“The company’s mission is to decimate the cost and scale barriers for industrial 3D printing. After pioneering the world’s first affordable human-scale industrial 3D printer, re: 3D now enables 3D printing directly from recycled or virgin plastic granules or flakes,” it said in a release.
“re: 3D arrives in Puerto Rico thanks to the P18 program to validate its business idea on a 3D printer that uses recyclable plastic material,” said Sebastián Vidal, chief innovation officer of the Science Trust.
“Its business plan and its mission to bring technology to as many people as possible resonated with the very reason for innovation that we have in parallel18, which is aligned with the Trust’s advance plan to make Puerto Rico a technological hub. We’re very proud of this recognition,” he said
Meanwhile, Snabes acknowledged the Trust’s support, explaining that “it has been key for us, they have connected us with groups throughout Puerto Rico to do applied research. In addition, it sponsored our first use case through which we investigated the functionality of baskets for a coffee farm made from recycled medical waste in our 3D printer.”
CTA’s Innovation Entrepreneur Awards program, founded in 2012, recognizes the contributions of individuals and small businesses in the consumer technology industry that demonstrate innovation, dedication to the industry, community outreach, and the tenacity to persevere through business challenges and economical.
Winners of this award include a company, an individual executive, and a startup in the consumer technology industry, which is determined by a panel of industry judges.
Entry is limited to consumer technology companies and consumer technology executives from organizations with annual national revenues of less than $30 million for the top two prizes, and a minimum of $200,000 for a startup.
Currently, re:3d is finalizing a new Small Business Innovation Research grant in Phase II of the National Science Foundation with the Trust that will allow it to handle a Gigabot X + container that will process discarded water bottles to be used as raw material for the 3D printer.
This will also allow it to generate additional jobs on the island and stimulate new companies, company representatives said.