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Glove boxes let researchers tinker with materials that need to be isolated from ordinary air's reactive oxygen gas.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

In the Chemistry Lab, HP is engineering new approaches to materials on the molecular level to innovate new technologies that make broad impacts.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

HP has projects going on 3D printing technology that can change material composition so that different products can have properties like flexibility, electrical conductivity and transparency.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

3D Printing Lab Research Engineer Aja Hartman sorts through data at HP Labs in Palo Alto, Calif.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

HP Labs has repurposed the company's inkjet printing technology so it can assemble structures out of living cells for tissue testing.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

At HP Labs, researchers perform everything from basic physics and chemistry research to product development -- but the idea is to benefit from the company's work in printing and computing. This model of HP Lab's nanofingers, thousands of times larger than the real-world item, shows the pillars that can effectively grasp individual molecules for analysis.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

The actual nanofinger chip, seen here, holds thousands of tiny pillars which grab a hold of individual molecules.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

In the Palo Alto lab, HP is repurposing more traditional technologies in a bio-lab with related microfluidics that squirt liquids other than inkjet ink. Here, researchers might print out constructions of different cells to mimic tissue types.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

HP's Indigo printing systems can spit out 240 full-color pages a minute for high-end products like custom photo books -- but they consume expensive ink by the jug.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

HP's massive Indigo printers, which can cost $500,000, are used to print photo books and other high-quality images at high speed. HP Labs is working to make components last orders of magnitude longer, with the ultimate goal of becoming as durable as the whole product.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Keith Moore, the vice president leading HP Labs' 2D and 3D printing work, explains how printing technology has improved by a factor of two about every two years -- for example, by being able to pack in smaller jets that can print with ever-finer detail.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

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