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Lisa Harouni: Primer on 3D printing. Must See Ted Talk

2012 may have been the year of 3D printing, when this three-decade-old technology finally became accessible and even commonplace. Lisa Harouni gives a useful introduction to this fascinating way of making things -- including intricate objects once impossible to create. The technology will inevitably change how the world works and is literally as revolutionary as the internet, yet most people know absolutely nothing about it.

Published February 12, 2013 in Development      30 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article




Lisa Harouni is the co-founder and CEO of Digital Forming, a company that works on the software side of 3D printing -- the design tools needed to run the new generaion of 3D printing processes. She has a background in economics, and worked in the G7 Economics team at Deutsche Bank AG before moving over to the consumer products business.


"Lisa Harouni is in the vanguard of a wave of entrepreneurs who want to make it easy for anyone to design and create bespoke products at the click of a button."
Wired UK

Transcript

It is actually a reality today that you can download products from the Web -- product data, I should say, from the Web -- perhaps tweak it and personalize it to your own preference or your own taste, and have that information sent to a desktop machine that will fabricate it for you on the spot. We can actually build for you, very rapidly, a physical object. And the reason we can do this is through an emerging technology called additive manufacturing, or 3D printing.

This is a 3D printer. They have been around for almost 30 years now, which is quite amazing to think of, but they're only just starting to filter into the public arena. And typically, you would take data, like the data of a pen here, which would be a geometric representation of that product in 3D, and we would pass that data with material into a machine. And a process that would happen in the machine would mean layer by layer that product would be built. And we can take out the physical product, and ready to use, or to, perhaps, assemble into something else.

But if these machines have been around for almost 30 years, why don't we know about them? Because typically they've been too inefficient, inaccessible, they've not been fast enough, they've been quite expensive. But today, it is becoming a reality that they are now becoming successful. Many barriers are breaking down. That means that you guys will soon be able to access one of these machines, if not this minute. And it will change and disrupt the landscape of manufacturing, and most certainly our lives, our businesses and the lives of our children.

So how does it work? It typically reads CAD data, which is a product design data created on professional product design programs. And here you can see an engineer -- it could be an architect or it could be a professional product designer -- create a product in 3D. And this data gets sent to a machine that slices the data into two-dimensional representations of that product all the way through -- almost like slicing it like salami. And that data, layer by layer, gets passed through the machine, starting at the base of the product and depositing material, layer upon layer, infusing the new layer of materials to the old layer in an additive process. And this material that's deposited either starts as a liquid form or a material powder form. And the bonding process can happen by either melting and depositing or depositing then melting. In this case, we can see a laser sintering machine developed by EOS. It's actually using a laser to fuse the new layer of material to the old layer. And over time -- quite rapidly actually, in a number of hours -- we can build a physical product, ready to take out of the machine and use. And this is quite an extraordinary idea, but it is reality today.

So all these products that you can see on the screen were made in the same way. They were all 3D printed. And you can see, they're ranging from shoes, rings that were made out of stainless steal, phone covers out of plastic, all the way through to spinal implants, for example, that were created out of medical-grade titanium, and engine parts. But what you'll notice about all of these products is they're very, very intricate. The design is quite extraordinary. Because we're taking this data in 3D form, slicing it up before it gets past the machine, we can actually create structures that are more intricate than any other manufacturing technology -- or, in fact, are impossible to build in any other way. And you can create parts with moving components, hinges, parts within parts.

So in some cases, we can abolish totally the need for manual labor. It sounds great. It is great. We can have 3D printers today that build structures like these. This is almost three meters high. And this was built by depositing artificial sandstone layer upon layer in layers of about five millimeters to 10 mm in thickness -- slowly growing this structure. This was created by an architectural firm called Shiro. And you can actually walk into it. And on the other end of the spectrum, this is a microstructure. It's created depositing layers of about four microns. So really the resolution is quite incredible. The detail that you can get today is quite amazing.

So who's using it? Typically, because we can create products very rapidly, it's been used by product designers, or anyone who wanted to prototype a product and very quickly create or reiterate a design. And actually what's quite amazing about this technology as well is that you can create bespoke products en masse. There's very little economies of scale. So you can now create one-offs very easily. Architects, for example, they want to create prototypes of buildings. Again you can see, this is a building of the Free University in Berlin and it was designed by Foster and Partners. Again, not buildable in any other way. And very hard to even create this by hand.

Now this is an engine component. It was developed by a company called Within Technologies and 3T RPD. It's very, very, very detailed inside with the design. Now 3D printing can break away barriers in design which challenge the constraints of mass production. If we slice into this product which is actually sitting here, you can see that it has a number of cooling channels pass through it, which means it's a more efficient product. You can't create this with standard manufacturing techniques even if you tried to do it manually. It's more efficient because we can now create all these cavities within the object that cool fluid. And it's used by aerospace and automotive. It's a lighter part and it uses less material waste. So it's overall performance and efficiency just exceeds standard mass produced products.

And then taking this idea of creating a very detailed structure, we can apply it to honeycomb structures and use them within implants. Typically an implant is more effective within the body if it's more porous, because our body tissue will grow into it. There's a lower chance of rejection. But it's very hard to create that in standard ways. With 3D printing, we're seeing today that we can create much better implants. And in fact, because we can create bespoke products en masse, one-offs, we can create implants that are specific to individuals.

So as you can see, this technology and the quality of what comes out of the machines is fantastic. And we're starting to see it being used for final end products. And in fact, as the detail is improving, the quality is improving, the price of the machines are falling and they're becoming quicker. They're also now small enough to sit on a desktop. You can buy a machine today for about $300 that you can create yourself, which is quite incredible.

But then it begs the question, why don't we all have one in our home? Because, simply, most of us here today don't know how to create the data that a 3D printer reads. If I gave you a 3D printer, you wouldn't know how to direct it to make what you want it to. But there are more and more technologies, software and processes today that are breaking down those barriers. I believe we're at a tipping point where this is now something that we can't avoid. This technology is really going to disrupt the landscape of manufacturing and, I believe, cause a revolution in manufacturing.

So today, you can download products from the Web -- anything you would have on your desktop, like pens, whistles, lemon squeezers. You can use software like Google SketchUp to create products from scratch very easily. 3D printing can be also used to download spare parts from the Web. So imagine you have, say, a Hoover in your home and it has broken down. You need a spare part, but you realize that Hoover's been discontinued. Can you imagine going online -- this is a reality -- and finding that spare part from a database of geometries of that discontinued product and downloading that information, that data, and having the product made for you at home, ready to use, on your demand? And in fact, because we can create spare parts with things the machines are quite literally making themselves. You're having machines fabricate themselves. These are parts of a RepRap machine, which is a kind of desktop printer.

But what interests my company the most is the fact that you can create individual unique products en masse. There's no need to do a run of thousands of millions or send that product to be injection molded in China. You can just make it physically on the spot. Which means that we can now present to the public the next generation of customization. This is something that is now possible today, that you can direct personally how you want your products to look.

We're all familiar with the idea of customization or personalization. Brands like Nike are doing it. It's all over the Web. In fact, every major household name is allowing you to interact with their products on a daily basis -- all the way from Smart Cars to Prada to Ray Ban, for example. But this is not really mass customization; it's known as variant production, variations of the same product. What you could do is really influence your product now and shape-manipulate your product.

I'm not sure about you guys, but I've had experiences when I've walked into a store and I've know exactly what I've wanted and I've searched everywhere for that perfect lamp that I know where I want to sit in my house and I just can't find the right thing, or that perfect piece of jewelry as a gift or for myself. Imagine that you can now engage with a brand and interact, so that you can pass your personal attributes to the products that you're about to buy.

You can today download a product with software like this, view the product in 3D. This is the sort of 3D data that a machine will read. This is a lamp. And you can start iterating the design. You can direct what color that product will be, perhaps what material. And also, you can engage in shape manipulation of that product, but within boundaries that are safe. Because obviously the public are not professional product designers. The piece of software will keep an individual within the bounds of the possible. And when somebody is ready to purchase the product in their personalized design, they click "Enter" and this data gets converted into the data that a 3D printer reads and gets passed to a 3D printer, perhaps on someone's desktop.

But I don't think that that's immediate. I don't think that will happen soon. What's more likely, and we're seeing it today, is that data gets sent to a local manufacturing center. This means lower carbon footprint. We're now, instead of shipping a product across the world, we're sending data across the Internet. Here's the product being built. You can see, this came out of the machine in one piece and the electronics were inserted later. It's this lamp, as you can see here. So as long as you have the data, you can create the part on demand.

And you don't necessarily need to use this for just aesthetic customization, you can use it for functional customization, scanning parts of the body and creating things that are made to fit. So we can run this through to something like prosthetics, which is highly specialized to an individual's handicap. Or we can create very specific prosthetics for that individual. Scanning teeth today, you can have your teeth scanned and dental coatings made in this way to fit you. While you wait at the dentist, a machine will quietly be creating this for you ready to insert in the teeth.

And the idea of now creating implants, scanning data, an MRI scan of somebody can now be converted into 3D data and we can create very specific implants for them. And applying this to the idea of building up what's in our bodies. You know, this is pair of lungs and the bronchial tree. It's very intricate. You couldn't really create this or simulate it in any other way. But with MRI data, we can just build the product, as you can see, very intricately. Using this process, pioneers in the industry are layering up cells today. So one of the pioneers, for example, is Dr. Anthony Atala, and he has been working on layering cells to create body parts -- bladders, valves, kidneys. Now this is not something that's ready for the public, but it is in working progress.

So just to finalize, we're all individual. We all have different preferences, different needs. We like different things. We're all different sizes and our companies the same. Businesses want different things. Without a doubt in my mind, I believe that this technology is going to cause a manufacturing revolution and will change the landscape of manufacturing as we know it.

Thank you.

Article by Stephen Dare







30 Comments

strider

February 12, 2013, 08:54:54 AM
I remember years ago watching a Star Trek and seeing them sit at a computer console, designing a needed part and then watching it get "made" by the replicator. Amazing technology but with possible very scary unintended consequences.

If_I_Loved_you

February 12, 2013, 12:27:16 PM
2013 tech predictions: Drones, 3D printers and telco rage

3D printing will kill manufacturing

This year is going to be one of insecurity and turmoil for manufacturers as 3D printing starts to dominate the market. 3D printers are already printing weapons, spare parts, an entire house and even an entire jawbone. Dr Frey says it won't be long before we can print food, medication and clothes. On the "As an example, with the Apple iPhone, on the old assembly line at Foxconn in China, it requires 24 people to touch the product from start to finish on a manufacturing line. On the new automated manufacturing lines in Brazil, there are only two people touching it from start to finish so you can imagine the amount of labour savings 3D printing would provide," he said.

Researchers are already working on food printers, and Dr Frey says it won't be long before you send your significant other out to the shops to buy a food cartridge because you need to print a fancy gourmet dinner.

"One example that I use is if you think about all the apples from an apple tree in an orchard, a lot get bruised and damaged and never make it on to shelves. But if you take the same stock and print it, you can print a perfect apple every time," he said. "If you want it to taste like almonds or add extra vitamin c, you could do that too. In the not too distance future we'll have processers that can print the can and print the soup that goes in it."

"Once we're able to print things like this, that can be done anywhere we can eliminate lots of shipping that occurs, rather than manufacturing something in China and shipping it to Australia, or the US or Europe, you can print it where you're at. This can have a profound effect on countries like China that are doing all the manufacturing.”


Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/tech-predictions-drones-3d-printers-and-telco-rage/story-e6frfro0-1226553388109#ixzz2Khs80ljX


stephendare

February 12, 2013, 12:38:02 PM
a billion jobs displaced worldwide over the next fifteen years.

and imagine what it will do to warehousing, retail, shipping, and surplus operations in real estate.

Computerization destroyed the old style malls, built on music shops, video stores, video game places, and book shops.

All of those types of businesses closed.

Some malls would have two or three different music shops in them not too long ago.

Imagine what this will all do to real estate on top of the jobs question.

If_I_Loved_you

February 12, 2013, 12:57:37 PM
a billion jobs displaced worldwide over the next fifteen years.

and imagine what it will do to warehousing, retail, shipping, and surplus operations in real estate.

Computerization destroyed the old style malls, built on music shops, video stores, video game places, and book shops.

All of those types of businesses closed.

Some malls would have two or three different music shops in them not too long ago.

Imagine what this will all do to real estate on top of the jobs question.
Their will be no reason to "dredge the St Johns River for larger ships?

thelakelander

February 12, 2013, 01:52:55 PM
3D printing seems like a great stock to invest in if you have some spare cash laying around.  Most stocks of the companies specializing in it have tripled in value over the last year or so.  If it gets to the point where the average person can easily print forks, cups, spare car parts, etc. out of their house, that will radically alter the urban landscape.  So, for you out there willing to make predictions, what does this mean for Jacksonville and how can our city take advantage?

Lunican

February 12, 2013, 01:54:53 PM
I'm not sold. Some products are conducive to this manufacturing method, but some will not be. For creating simple parts in a high volume it's pretty slow.

Having a machine at home that can produce more than just dollar store type plastic items isn't going to be practical for anyone. You can already buy the machines to produce almost anything, however your house will look like a machine shop and you'll spend a million dollars.

Here is a "3D printer" for metal alloys to make parts that aren't garbage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLndYWw5_y8

It's an expensive and complex machine (even moreso than the existing CNC machines that have been around for decades). How many people have one of those in their house?

thelakelander

February 12, 2013, 01:59:31 PM
One issue that will pop up is even if it became efficient to print products out of your house, most are patented.  However, I do see a value in this from an industrial research & development standpoint.

Lunican

February 12, 2013, 02:21:01 PM
I think this is a process that will be used for some products, but it's not going to create a world where anyone prints anything they want.

This reminds me of the iPhone 5 promo video where they tout their manufacturing process by showing how they cut the aluminum. It looks impressive if you've never seen anything made in your entire life:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=u5X5cV-4LRo#t=294s

stephendare

February 12, 2013, 02:29:11 PM
I'm not sold. Some products are conducive to this manufacturing method, but some will not be. For creating simple parts in a high volume it's pretty slow.

Having a machine at home that can produce more than just dollar store type plastic items isn't going to be practical for anyone. You can already buy the machines to produce almost anything, however your house will look like a machine shop and you'll spend a million dollars.

Here is a "3D printer" for metal alloys to make parts that aren't garbage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLndYWw5_y8

It's an expensive and complex machine (even moreso than the existing CNC machines that have been around for decades). How many people have one of those in their house?

1.  The technology will rapidly improve.

2.  It doesnt need to be in your house to disrupt the economies.  And you dont have to have thousands of parts lying around.  All that has to happen is for production centers to be set up for people to go to.  Which is the most likely method.  If there is only one kind of shopping space, which is basically a pick upi center for your good, then real estate still gets screwed.  As does shipping.  Right now shipping relies on back inventory to work.  Under the model provided for a printer center based retail/wholesale economy there is no back stock at all, only storage and shipping for extrusion material.

And it still destroys manufacturing jobs either way.

15 years ago it was 1998 and if you had internet, it was through AOL.  You paid for access by the minute, and it was over dialup phone lines.  There really wasnt any such thing as online video, and Blockbuster Videos was one of the most profitable corporations on the earth.

stephendare

February 12, 2013, 04:12:32 PM
3D printing seems like a great stock to invest in if you have some spare cash laying around.  Most stocks of the companies specializing in it have tripled in value over the last year or so.  If it gets to the point where the average person can easily print forks, cups, spare car parts, etc. out of their house, that will radically alter the urban landscape.  So, for you out there willing to make predictions, what does this mean for Jacksonville and how can our city take advantage?

processing and producing the extrusion material.  Researching how best to store it.  How best to ship it.  Especially for the more exotic organic compounds.

Invest in medical research to support it.

Stop investing in the shopping strip mall model of planning and development.

Radically rethink our port and reingineer our rail strategy around resources rather than traditional manufacturing.  They arent the same thing you know.

thelakelander

February 12, 2013, 04:19:55 PM
Florida was never a true manufacturing center like the Midwest or New York.  By the time we started to really grow, manufacturing in this country was in decline. So, it's safe to at least say we don't have a rail strategy based around traditional manufacturing.

If_I_Loved_you

February 12, 2013, 04:29:58 PM
3D printing seems like a great stock to invest in if you have some spare cash laying around.  Most stocks of the companies specializing in it have tripled in value over the last year or so.  If it gets to the point where the average person can easily print forks, cups, spare car parts, etc. out of their house, that will radically alter the urban landscape.  So, for you out there willing to make predictions, what does this mean for Jacksonville and how can our city take advantage?

processing and producing the extrusion material.  Researching how best to store it.  How best to ship it.  Especially for the more exotic organic compounds.

Invest in medical research to support it.

Stop investing in the shopping strip mall model of planning and development.

Radically rethink our port and reingineer our rail strategy around resources rather than traditional manufacturing.  They arent the same thing you know.
"« Reply #10 on: Today at 04:12:32 PM »" Look Stephen has time traveled being it's only 3:29pm 2/12/2013

Lunican

February 12, 2013, 05:29:24 PM
1.  The technology will rapidly improve.

2.  It doesnt need to be in your house to disrupt the economies.  And you dont have to have thousands of parts lying around.  All that has to happen is for production centers to be set up for people to go to.  Which is the most likely method.  If there is only one kind of shopping space, which is basically a pick upi center for your good, then real estate still gets screwed.  As does shipping.  Right now shipping relies on back inventory to work.  Under the model provided for a printer center based retail/wholesale economy there is no back stock at all, only storage and shipping for extrusion material.

And it still destroys manufacturing jobs either way.

15 years ago it was 1998 and if you had internet, it was through AOL.  You paid for access by the minute, and it was over dialup phone lines.  There really wasnt any such thing as online video, and Blockbuster Videos was one of the most profitable corporations on the earth.

I definitely don't see this playing out the way you do.

I think these printers will be used to produce previously difficult to manufacture, high dollar items with specific uses and made from specific materials. The medical field will likely benefit.

But converting Walmarts into "printing centers" so you can print a toothbrush and a pair of shoes is not likely to happen. Nor will there be a consumer mass market for these printers. This technology has been around for about 30 years, the only thing that is new is the hype.

stephendare

February 12, 2013, 05:30:52 PM
1.  The technology will rapidly improve.

2.  It doesnt need to be in your house to disrupt the economies.  And you dont have to have thousands of parts lying around.  All that has to happen is for production centers to be set up for people to go to.  Which is the most likely method.  If there is only one kind of shopping space, which is basically a pick upi center for your good, then real estate still gets screwed.  As does shipping.  Right now shipping relies on back inventory to work.  Under the model provided for a printer center based retail/wholesale economy there is no back stock at all, only storage and shipping for extrusion material.

And it still destroys manufacturing jobs either way.

15 years ago it was 1998 and if you had internet, it was through AOL.  You paid for access by the minute, and it was over dialup phone lines.  There really wasnt any such thing as online video, and Blockbuster Videos was one of the most profitable corporations on the earth.

I definitely don't see this playing out the way you do.

I think these printers will be used to produce previously difficult to manufacture, high dollar items with specific uses and made from specific materials. The medical field will likely benefit.

But converting Walmarts into "printing centers" so you can print a toothbrush and a pair of shoes is not likely to happen. Nor will there be a consumer mass market for these printers. This technology has been around for about 30 years, the only thing that is new is the hype.

hmm.  are you willing to risk a dollar on that?

five years.

Lunican

February 12, 2013, 05:45:20 PM
Sure. I bet you a dollar that in 2018, less than 5% of the U.S. population will own a 3D printer.

stephendare

February 12, 2013, 05:50:17 PM
Sure. I bet you a dollar that in 2018, less than 5% of the U.S. population will own a 3D printer.

I will bet you that more than 5% of american households will be purchasing and or using products that have been made on a 3d printer by 2018.

stephendare

February 12, 2013, 05:54:00 PM
Now that would include things like electronics and the types of products that are custom made and printed out on additive process manufacturing units.  And it would include households rather than individuals.  A dishwasher isnt owned by every person in a house but the whole household uses it.

Lunican

February 12, 2013, 05:54:51 PM
Who keeps the stats on that? Most products are made with many different manufacturing methods and no one has a clue which were used for what.

Dog Walker

February 12, 2013, 05:56:37 PM
That presenter in the video has the most irritating and affected "vocal fry" that I have every heard.  It was difficult getting through the whole video.

I began using 3D printing for prototyping products almost 30 years ago.  It is still mostly used for that purpose especially for products that are going to be injection molded in plastic or metal.  Making injection molds for that stuff is expensive and you want to make sure it is just right before building one.

Right now most of this stuff is at the prototyping or hobbyist level.  So were the first personal computers.  Here were are thirty years on from the early personal computers and you have more power in your smartphone than we had then.

Going from the electronic to the physical hasn't happened nearly as fast, but it is coming.  Designing is now the biggest barrier, not the machines.

Take a look at this and try your hand at design:   www.tinkercad.com   This might be the breakthrough that lowers that barrier.

stephendare

February 12, 2013, 06:08:52 PM
Who keeps the stats on that? Most products are made with many different manufacturing methods and no one has a clue which were used for what.

trust me, the trend will be worrisomely followed.

stephendare

February 12, 2013, 06:28:08 PM
Here is a great breakdown of the status of the industry from last year:

https://www.ida.org/stpi/occasionalpapers/papers/AM3D_33012_Final.pdf

Lunican

February 13, 2013, 11:20:24 AM
I think Staples announced an in-store 3D printing service. But it is basically for prototyping things.

Lunican

February 16, 2013, 12:06:40 PM
Sure. I bet you a dollar that in 2018, less than 5% of the U.S. population will own a 3D printer.

I will bet you that more than 5% of american households will be purchasing and or using products that have been made on a 3d printer by 2018.

Wow. That sounds like a wild success that will alter global trade and the way we live!

3d printers don't mean anything. The examples of progress you cited were all information based that moved to a better medium.

stephendare

February 16, 2013, 12:15:10 PM
Sure. I bet you a dollar that in 2018, less than 5% of the U.S. population will own a 3D printer.

I will bet you that more than 5% of american households will be purchasing and or using products that have been made on a 3d printer by 2018.

Wow. That sounds like a wild success that will alter global trade and the way we live!

3d printers don't mean anything. The examples of progress you cited were all information based that moved to a better medium.

just keep that dollar set aside, Lunican. 

In fact, lets add a dollar for every five percent increment.

stephendare

February 16, 2013, 12:16:26 PM
Quote
The Internet? Bah!

Feb 26, 1995 7:00 PM EST
Hype alert: Why cyberspace isn't, and will never be, nirvana

After two decades online, I'm perplexed. It's not that I haven't had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I've met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I'm uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.

Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.

Consider today's online world. The Usenet, a worldwide bulletin board, allows anyone to post messages across the nation. Your word gets out, leapfrogging editors and publishers. Every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly. The result? Every voice is heard. The cacophany more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harrasment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen. How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it's an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can't tote that laptop to the beach. Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.

What the Internet hucksters won't tell you is tht the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don't know what to ignore and what's worth reading. Logged onto the World Wide Web, I hunt for the date of the Battle of Trafalgar. Hundreds of files show up, and it takes 15 minutes to unravel them—one's a biography written by an eighth grader, the second is a computer game that doesn't work and the third is an image of a London monument. None answers my question, and my search is periodically interrupted by messages like, "Too many connections, try again later."

Won't the Internet be useful in governing? Internet addicts clamor for government reports. But when Andy Spano ran for county executive in Westchester County, N.Y., he put every press release and position paper onto a bulletin board. In that affluent county, with plenty of computer companies, how many voters logged in? Fewer than 30. Not a good omen.

Point and click:
Then there are those pushing computers into schools. We're told that multimedia will make schoolwork easy and fun. Students will happily learn from animated characters while taught by expertly tailored software.Who needs teachers when you've got computer-aided education? Bah. These expensive toys are difficult to use in classrooms and require extensive teacher training. Sure, kids love videogames—but think of your own experience: can you recall even one educational filmstrip of decades past? I'll bet you remember the two or three great teachers who made a difference in your life.

Then there's cyberbusiness. We're promised instant catalog shopping—just point and click for great deals. We'll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet—which there isn't—the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.

What's missing from this electronic wonderland? Human contact. Discount the fawning techno-burble about virtual communities. Computers and networks isolate us from one another. A network chat line is a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee. No interactive multimedia display comes close to the excitement of a live concert. And who'd prefer cybersex to the real thing? While the Internet beckons brightly, seductively flashing an icon of knowledge-as-power, this nonplace lures us to surrender our time on earth. A poor substitute it is, this virtual reality where frustration is legion and where—in the holy names of Education and Progress—important aspects of human interactions are relentlessly devalued.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/1995/02/26/the-internet-bah.html

stephendare

February 16, 2013, 12:33:10 PM
http://production3dprinters.com/solutions/rapid-manufacturing

buckethead

February 16, 2013, 01:22:56 PM
I can see this applied to buildings. An abundant supply of raw materials being the larger hurdle.

With 3D printing, materials could be oriented to maximize strength while minimizing the volume of materials needed, much in the same way modern engineering has altered building techniques and materials.

I can envision structures made of sand/silica, wood/resin, portland cement, or a number of other possibilities. Maybe any raw material could become useful.

In my imagination it looks like large robotic insects spitting a building together. Think 'mud dobber' without the wings. (Is that the scientific name for those wasp things?

I think I agree with Stephen here. The change will be beyond profound. It will be radical. In fact, so radical that a new social structure will emerge. Two possibilities: More socialistic distribution of resources, or mass termination of large swaths of population by various means. Not entirely intentional, but warring for resources is as old as mankind. (I suppose a separate agrarian society could come into being but owning land would seem to be a prerequisite)

When labor becomes all but obsolete, owning the means of production or natural resources becomes the only means of increasing wealth, something has got to give.

peestandingup

February 17, 2013, 04:13:32 AM
I'm with you guys. Like most of you, I've been saying this same thing for years. Not because I'm some magical wizard who can see the future, but because its just the way it is. There's no conspiracy, its all technology driven. Anyone who doesn't see it is either blind, too tied up in their own little bubbles of life & can't think longterm, or simply doesn't want to face the reality of the situation.

They'll have to be some kind of new social movement to come out of this, because the traditional means of how capitalism works won't apply. I envision many will suffer (and possible die) before this happens though. The top 1% has such an influence & stranglehold on keeping the old methods alive that it won't be pretty. The gap between them & us is the biggest it's ever been in history & its only widening, with the middle class being hollowed out. My fear is that this will cause a period of great mass social unrest, possible some kind of war since again, the top has such an interest in siphoning off of us all to keep the flow going. Power control basically.

But thats getting too far into trying to predict how this will play out. All I know is that the old ways simply will fail as retail ultimately dies, 3D printing & internet commerce becomes the norm, factories become almost 100% automated, etc. Its happening now & is accelerating at high speeds. Technology is destroying jobs faster than it is creating them & there will not be another great "industrial revolution" to sustain us all. America (and pretty much everywhere) was built on that method, now its history & never coming back. Thats why our economy has been debt based horse shit for the last few decades. But that eventually goes away too because none of it is real.

So we're gonna have to emerge from this & try to rethink the way our society works, or look like Mad Max. The haves vs the have-nots. And there will be plenty of have-nots, more than you can shake a stick at. And they're going to be pissed. And not to turn this into a whole debate, but this is one of the reasons I don't budge too much on the whole gun control issue. Because the future doesn't look pleasant & you may ultimately regret giving up any of those rights.

Bill Hoff

April 16, 2013, 07:57:14 PM
Fyi -http://www.beonespark.com/discover/creator_projects/775

A friend of mine has a 3D printing project in One Spark. Check it out.

louie

September 18, 2013, 10:43:56 PM
That was really cool, in fact all the outcomes from 3D printing has enormous results.  I don't think if http://www.digiteksf.com/ if already acquired the idea.
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