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Although HANNOVER MESSE 2018 continues to train the spotlight on practical industrial solutions, that doesn't mean there's no room for seemingly frivolous innovations that only "blossom" on closer inspection. For example, the Institute of Botany from Leibniz University Hannover is at the fair to exhibit educational three-dimensional flower models that have a lot more going for them than just pretty looks.

Headed by Prof. Jutta Papenbrock, the Institute believes that state-of-the-art 3D printing techniques could bring a whole new dimension to teaching in certain subjects, not least biology. Showing young people who aren’t all that keen on technology - and girls in particular - how to produce 3D models of biological structures can help steer them toward STEM subjects and teach them a whole lot of modeling skills at the same time. Designed in a CAD program and then produced using additive manufacturing techniques, the Institute's flowers are much cheaper than buying conventional models. What's more, they have the advantage of being simple to reproduce, scalable to any size and easy to repair. The ultimate aim to enable pupils to model and manufacture their own flowers in 3D printing working groups. A special teaching concept has therefore been developed to educate students about the structures of flowers and train them in digital programming techniques. A working group like this would benefit any school by helping to boost students’ modelling skills at the same time as providing hands-on experience with a cutting-edge technology.