Archives For 3D Printing

ces 2015 Ah, the Consumer Electronics Show: the annual international destination for the most forward-looking technology each year, matched with a frenetic navel-gazing from industry insiders that pales only to the self-aggrandizing swagger of the tech world’s brand behemoths, and big promises from baby hardware start-ups hoping to make it big on a non-working plastic prototype and a semi-polished sales pitch.

Oh, and there are always more than a few gems that make it all worthwhile.

It’s a huge show. I logged 40,000 steps walking every aisle of the show floor over 48 hours, and I’m sure I still missed something.

It’s my third trip to Vegas for the annual tech toy fest. The first was seven years ago (2008 recap); then last year (2014 recap).

For 2015, I can tell you I was inspired, underwhelmed and energized at what I found at this year’s show. This was a year of paradox for a culture in the age of technology transition.

There were more booths with Oculus Rift virtual reality demos than companies selling the 360 degree cameras and software needed to create content for it. However, there were many companies exploring new ways to maneuver in 3D and IRL realms, including via feet, ears, wrist and shoes. And NFC tattoos.

There was more talk about autonomous cars as a guaranteed reality than the infrastructure and near-term, baby-step innovations required to support a more realistic evolution.

The TVs this year were truly more picturesque than real life. Except the majority of programming is just finally starting to catch up to 4k, so buying an 8k TV would be lots of wasted pixels.

I witnessed people walking up to strangers and letting them plop a brain scanner on their noggin without a semblance of acknowledgement there could be side effects — or who owned the data from the experience.

There were drones galore. Talk about smart watches, smart homes and smart wallets. But none of it actually plays very well together, and not a lot of it solves immediate problems.

It seems to be common knowledge that if a device can send a notification to your phone, then it’s awesome. I struggle to disagree with this assessment, myself. And enchanted objects — regardless of how life-improving they may be — make non-smart objects look all the more dumb.

There were an increased number of 3D printers this year, and an encouraging base of 3D handheld scanners and material providers growing up to bolster the category.

Last year, the threat of an Apple Watch loomed over the wrist wearable and smart watch vendors. This year Apple stole some mindshare by announcing a March launch date on the first day of the show.

Meanwhile, the rise in haptic technology is truly amazing, and I look forward to that category growing into our computers, wearables and autos. Although, someone will surely get burned (literally), and I fear miseducation will impede its adoption. I guess we’ll see.

Here are some of the advancements I saw this year that caught my eye, separated into the following categories:

  • Virtual Reality
  • The Future of Hands Free
  • Technology to Impact Your Daily Life
  • The Future of Personal Transportation
  • Television
  • The Drones are Coming!
  • Internet of Things
  • Robots, because CES
  • Music
  • The Ridiculous Side of CES

Here we go!
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Staples wants to be the Kinkos of 3D printing, according to TechCrunch.

“Staples is getting a jump on 3D printing and just rolled-out a 3D printing service to two of its U.S. locations in New York and Los Angeles, where consumers can walk in and have a 3D doodad printed. If this trial proves successful, the retailer says it will expand the service to more locations.”

I relate this news to libraries going all-digital and adding 3D printing capabilities in their computer labs as a value-added service to communities.

Companies are starting to see a business reason for those same “print it yourself” functions, and that’s what Staples is bringing to the market. It’s an exciting step forward to the mainstreaming of product design and user-experimentation.

As a notable sci-fi reference to this trend, Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age (1995) describes the evolution of the Post Office as a place we will go to have large deliveries “printed,” such as cars and beds.

Essentially printing items of a size and complexity your home 3D printer (aka matter compiler) of the future couldn’t handle. Are we on track to that prediction? Time will tell.

Google Glass Explorer Meetup 2014 SXSWThis was my eighth year attending South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) in Austin, TX, and the expectations were high.

The key theme I took away from SXSW 2013 was “Exponential Thinking, Exponential Opportunities,” and capitalizing on that thinking and opportunity, the main theme I took from SXSW this year was “Quit looking to others for the next big thing. Go make it yourself.

If you followed the media attention on this year’s SXSW closely, you surely noticed there wasn’t a breakout app or innovation this year. The whole “What’s the next Twitter?” expectation has grown tired for many of us longtime attendees, but the notion isn’t as misdirected as one may think.

The opening and closing keynote presentations indirectly addressed that expectation, plus the question of whose responsibility it is to create innovation that impacts society. But there’s a twist to the tone for addressing those questions in 2014.

You see, these kinds of events aren’t about the breakouts and newsmakers…. they are about the community that inevitably designs, builds and launches the breakouts — and the people who become the newsmakers. It’s about the community who comes together, at least once a year, to connect, share, learn and collaborate.

Opening keynote presenter and artist Austin Kleon shared Brian Eno’s concept of Scenius (genius coming from a collaboration of a group, culture or movement; a community that is critical to support all amazing ideas and big thinkers).

Closing keynote presenter and futurist Bruce Sterling told of the need to mature beyond nostalgia for the past. And as I attended sessions, met new people and experienced new interactive milestones between the opening and closing keynotes, I concluded that we should stop looking for the “next Twitter” or “next Foursquare” or “next Zuckerberg” at these events, and go make something ourselves.

Because after all, this is our scenius. This our collaborative community. This community has created great things in the past, and it will again. But only if we put the onus on ourselves.

So in the spirit of the scenius of 2014, I treated the conference differently in a number of ways:

    Lauren Melcher, Lindsi Gish, Amanda Long, Angie Gassett, Steffen Ryan, Nathan Wright, Greg Swan
  • Introduced myself to fellow attendees without mentioning what I did and where I worked, and asked the same of them. It forced us to dig deep into who we are, what we’re creating, and who we want to be.
  • Held a number of “stranger dinners,” where I invited people — those I had just met, people I know from back home I never see, and people I genuinely want to know better — to stop, have dinner, process what they heard in sessions that day, and clear the dishes to have a discussion.
  • Sought out 1:1 time with my coworkers, particularly those I see so rarely from our network, to connect, offer help and seek advice.
  • Made time apart from or in lieu of panels to attend things like the Google Glass Explorer Meetup, SXSXinspiration Meetup, and Facebook’s Politics, Government and Non-Profits Networking Meetup, taking the initiative to meet new people and foster new connections with those attending the conference officially with a badge — as well as those unofficially enjoying the non-conference events on the fringe.
  • Journaled some ideas for never-been-done-before things I want to build in the coming year.

And here are some of the favorite things we discussed as the 2014 “scenius” gathered in Austin this year:

    Greg Swan 3D Printed Bust and Face
  • You can’t fight technology’s progress. And we should work to adapt our society to leverage new technology.
  • White collar, repetitive knowledge workers will be replaced by automation, just as robots replaced blue collar, manufacturing workers.
  • No great artist or filmmaker ever referred to their works as “content.”
  • We can record the biometrics of everyone in the world in the cloud — and still have plenty of storage left for all of human history.
  • The importance of privacy, personal data and abuse from government.
  • The state of curiosity is a measure of intelligence.
  • The future of ethical programming for autonomous experiences.
  • The risk of legislators creating laws about technology they don’t understand.
  • The cultural dissonance of technology that comes from the introduction of new devices.

Pretty great topics, right? Oh, and I also got 3D scanned and printed. That was a first.

Overall, another amazing year. I came back energized and excited for what’s to come in 2014. Let’s go make something!

Full notes (via Twitter) broken out by session/topic after the jump!

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PSFK: 3D-Printing Loom Envisions A Wardrobe That Can Be Produced At Home