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While the bright side of 3D printing might be a project like the custom therapeutic braces and prosthetics for children with cerebral palsy designed by Gabriella Cammarata, NYU Tandon’s Designer in Residence, the dark side can be the theft of schematic files for critical parts of, for example, airplanes. If a company’s computer security is breached through its IP, those files can be stolen and counterfeit parts can be fabricated with 3D printers. The goal for Fei Chen, PhD candidate at NYU Tandon, is to create technology that will thwart counterfeiters and instill confidence in the integrity of a part, insuring critical components are the real deal. To achieve this, Fei is developing unique security solutions, including adding electronic signatures that signify authenticity. It’s a crucial step to a safer and more secure manufacturing and repair process; Fei’s collaborators include researchers from NYU Abu Dhabi and the Army Research Lab. “We definitely hope to raise awareness about how security can be a big issue in 3D printing,” says Chen. “We want to be more creative in protecting this new technology.”