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The flight model of the 3D Metal printer that launched on NG-20 on 30 January 2024, headed for the International Space Station. It will be the first 3D printer on the Space Station printing in metal.

Week in Tech: A metal 3D printer is now on board the space station

Metal 3D printing will soon take place for the first time in orbit on the International Space Station

Here’s a roundup of what made headlines in the world of science and technology this week.

Amazon cancels iRobot Roomba deal

Amazon canceled a deal to buy the Roomba vacuum cleaner iRobot earlier this week. According to an AP report, Amazon blamed “inappropriate and disproportionate regulatory hurdles” after the European Union signaled its objection to the deal. The companies said in a joint statement that they were disappointed but had mutually agreed to terminate the acquisition. The deal has faced antitrust scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic, but most heavily in Europe, where regulators investigating competition concerns were expected to make a final decision by Feb. 14, the AP report said. It continues: “Amazon will pay the maker of the circular Roomba” vacuum a previously agreed-upon termination fee of $94 million, iRobot said in a separate announcement, which also revealed that the company is laying off about 31% of its employees and the CEO would leave.”

Neuralink’s first human brain implant

The Elon Musk-led company Neuralink successfully completed its first human brain chip implant earlier this week. Musk, who also owns Tesla and SpaceX, announced on X that the brain implant had shown “promising” early results. In a post on acquired a $44 billion buyout, gave the implant a name. “The first @Neuralink product is called Telepathy,” Musk posted on X. You can read more about the implant and what Neuralink wants to achieve with this technology here.

ESA sends first metal 3D printer to the International Space Station

The International Space Station – a hub for some fascinating scientific and technological tools – now has its first metal 3D printer on board. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the European-made metal 3D printer was launched to the ISS on January 30 as part of the Cygnus NG-20 resupply mission. The resupply mission rendezvoused with the ISS on February 1st. According to ESA, the printer will be controlled and monitored from Earth after installation. The metal 3D printer technology demonstrator was developed by an industrial team led by Airbus Defense and Space SAS – which is also co-funding the project – on behalf of ESA’s Manned and Robotic Exploration Directorate. The printer will print with a type of stainless steel that is commonly used for medical implants and water treatment due to its good corrosion resistance, ESA said on its website.

(Compiled by Nitin Sreedhar, with inputs from agencies)

also read: Explained: What is ESA’s EnVision mission to Venus?