AMUG 2023 Conference

AMUG 2023 keynote speakers announced

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The Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) has announced its keynote speakers for the 2023 AMUG Conference, which will be held in Chicago, Illinois, from March 19 – 23, 2023.

Co-presenters Robert Ducey of Laika Studios and Nicholas Jacobson of the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus will take the stage on Tuesday, March 21, while Max Haot of Launcher will address the audience on Thursday, March 23.

At AMUG 2023, Ducey and Jacobson will present the session ‘Collaborations between an animator, an architect, and a surgeon: the keys to impactful innovation in medicine,’ which will unveil the results in innovative designs for paediatric epilepsy, cardiology, and cleft palate that this collaboration has achieved.

In their presentation, the co-presenters will discuss the unique collaboration, provide a history of individual methods, dive into the innovations, and share their vision for future explorations.

“This keynote presentation illustrates what the AMUG Conference is all about,” said AMUG director, education and conference Jordan Weston.

“On the one hand, we will hear about innovation fueled by additive manufacturing. On the other hand, we will hear how a connection made during the 2019 AMUG Conference prompted an unlikely collaboration.”

“We connected over a little-known 3D modeling and printing technique called bitmap printing,” said Ducey and Jacobson in a joint statement. “We have leveraged our unique workflows and toolsets from that connection to develop new and exciting applications for 3D bitmap printing in medicine.”

Robert Ducey (LAIKA) will present at AMUG 2023 conference
Robert Ducey, technical supervisor at Laika Studios

“Throughout our talk, we hope to inspire people to think outside the silos of their fields and search for new ideas through untraditional collaborations. The key to a great innovation might be sitting right next to you,” they continued.

Robert Ducey is the technical supervisor for the rapid prototyping department at Laika and has over 25 years of experience in visual effects and animation.

His work with additive manufacturing began with Laika’s first feature film Coraline. For that film, the team pioneered additive manufacturing for the facial animations of main characters in a stop-motion production, which demanded thousands of printed parts, a technique known as replacement animation.

On every subsequent film, Ducey has been involved in the further development and expansion of the process, which received a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in 2016.

He is responsible for integrating additive manufacturing technology with Laika’s production processes, which are used in the company’s sixth feature film ‘Wildwood’.

Nicholas Jacobson (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus) will present at AMUG 2023 conference
Nicholas Jacobson, translational research faculty, surgical and clinical design at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Nicholas Jacobson, a member of the translational research faculty at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, is trained as both an architect and computational designer.

His work involves the development of novel solutions for complex surgeries, leveraging disparate computational methods from fields including architecture, animation, fashion, regenerative medicine, and structural engineering.

Jacobson’s work focuses on patient-specific needs in diagnostics, prosthetics, and implants. He has worked with over 50 surgeons in operating rooms to understand the opportunities for new and creative designs first-hand. As an architect, Jacobson designed buildings for aerospace, residential, music, and medical uses.

“In early 2022, Launcher was big news with its successful E-2 liquid rocket engine test. A lot has transpired over the past 12 months. We are honoured to have Max Haot take the stage to share updates on the company’s progress and innovations,” said Weston in regard to the Thursday keynote.

Max Haot (Launcher) will present at AMUG 2023
Max Haot, founder and CEO of Launcher

Max Haot, founder and CEO of Launcher, will share an overview of the breakthrough additive manufacturing innovations in Launcher’s E-2 liquid rocket engine and the Orbiter space tug programs.

The E-2 is a closed-cycle, high-performance rocket engine that contains multiple AM-produced, copper-alloy components. The engine can boost a 150 kg payload into low Earth orbit (LEO) using the company’s Launcher Light vehicle, which is scheduled for launch in 2024.

With over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, Haot is the founder of Launcher, a Californian aerospace company, born in 2017 to develop the world’s most efficient rockets and transfer vehicles for delivery of small satellites to orbit.

Prior to Launcher, Haot was the founder and CEO of Mevo, a live-streaming camera maker that Logitech acquired in 2021.

Before that, he was the founder and CEO of Livestream, which offered enterprise-level, live-streaming video software as a service (SaaS) and was acquired by IAC/Vimeo in 2017.

Rounding out the featured stage presentations are the Insights and Highlights session on Monday, March 20, and the Innovators Showcase on Wednesday, March 22.

The keynotes and featured presentations will kickstart each day of the conference and set the tone for nearly 200 presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and hands-on training sessions.

The AMUG Conference agenda, which features topics ranging from technology basics to advanced applications to business considerations, is available at

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