Thanks andypiper for pointing me at this video of a cool kid talking about 3d printers on a big stage. It is the future by a participant of the future.
Whilst on the subject of kids doing cool things I also just bumped into this, which I assume is an homage to our Cool Stuff Collective. Brilliant 🙂
Once again the power of the web, the willingess to create and share and the ability for people of any age to create and engage. It really is a massive social and artistic change. Still ignoring social media ? (If you are you probably are not reading this though are you 🙂 )
I realised that whilst I talk about RepRap a lot to people and have blogged elsewhere about it this blog has no good reference to RepRap. So here it is.
In putting a shout out for help and ideas on 3d printing for the cool stuff collective RepRap keeps getting mentioned by people. It is an intriguing project and has the sort of spirit and goals that I really relate too.
RepRap is an opensource hardware and software project to build a 3d printer, one of whose aims is to be able to print and replicate the parts to make another RepRap printer.
The video above is from Adrian Bowyer the inventor of RepRap, it has some great points about replicating nature with insects and flowers, plus you can see how a printer works.
To people who have not yet Grokked the whole massive impact this micro/local manufacture will have there is something very primeval about explaining the self replication by a piece of hardware, that seems to sit well with us humans.
I am fairly convinced that saying this machine is able to make the parts for itself is one of the most obvious examples of a use case. It is also both a joke, threat and obvious at the same time.
I often talk about the redistribution of manufacturing and the cultural impact it will have, but increasingly I am also talking about the feedback loop that occurs when those things manufactured are placed into our lives and then by their very existence alter the things that occur around us and to us.
Think about how the remote control on the TV altered our homes and the way we used television. It took a few years for everyone to upgrade to a TV with a remote, but they are pretty ubiquitous now. Imagine how quickly an innovation such as that would infect/enhance our homes and lives if we could print them out as they happened.
The spread of the end product in this way would also lead to even quicker open source projects based on whatever this device or object was, projects to take that and use it in even more advanced ways, sharing the information along the way.
This can be a cycle in fashion accelerated not to seasons and production runs but to right now, to changes in architecture, to sudden new character collectible toys and games.
You do not have to ponder this very long to add together the power of sharing across the web and willingness to self organise with an open source mentality combined with not just software or ideas but with physical items and you can see that there is an even greater cultural shift, and its way more than people say hi to one another on Twitter and Facebook.
It really is very exciting and scary at the same time.
The open source approach and mentality is really a giant feedback loop with adjustments and mutations made along the way like a genetic algorithm. Throw atoms, not just virtual digits and the proposition expands a great deal.
There are some great articles buzzing around about the use of the Objet 3d printers in the production of IronMan2 special effects.
Check out the video description here. Also pay attention to the length of time they have been using it and the fact that this is what the “legacy effects department” does 🙂
Basically they printed some of the film props and armour based on a quick scan of Robert Downey Jr.
Remember that at the moment this is about CAD models and the specifics of their construction, but we move lots of 3d content around to one another in virtual worlds every day. Simply combine the 2.
HP are moving into 3d printing, and the Object Alaris 30 is a desktop office printer.
Thankyou Virtual Worlds News for reporting on this development (via Playthings.com) by Hasbro with their G.I. Joe characters. In case you have not read the piece Hasbro(the massive toy company) are running a promotion for the new G.I. Joe movie. On the action figure website you are able to create a custom G.I. Joe character, with various pieces of kit and a background story arc in the profile. The creation of the figure is an entry into a competition and the top 39 winners will have the figure produced for them complete with a scan of their face on the action figure.
Ok so this is not mass 3d printing toy customization (yet) and there have been people who make action figures of you. However this is mainstream use of what is effectively avatar customization.
I am a fan of character collectible action figures. (I am not an obsessive collector but I probably could be). I have always been interested in these iconic sculptures, especially as they really came to the fore with Star Wars back in the late 70’s when I was 10 or 11 years old.
I am also intrigued by the placement of this and the psychology of play that it taps into. In my very basic understanding of development I believe that the younger children play with toys as an exploration of the physical world, outside of their persona. As they get older kids start to them develop role play, the empathy and excitement of being that character. It is that crossover that we start to get in both video games and virtual worlds. A mix of create-your-own-hero and path, versus reliving and acting as your favorite hero.
The choices of expression, and the resurfacing of that choice we see in adults in both business and leisure activities is highlighted in virtual worlds. It is precisely this that brings discussions of trust and identity, representation of ones personal brand conflicting and complementing the brand of a company you may represent. It also brings a hint of fear to some people who feel they have crafted and controlled their image in one plane, yet opportunity for the explorers and innovators to expand their presence and image in new and interesting ways.
There was something I read recently about the Peter Principle (people being promoted in corporations past their level of competence) and how the random selection of individuals versus the “merit” promotion of individuals had the same results. It is this sort of environment that you get to hear phrases like “Well their face fits”. That refers as much to personal brand fitting with an organization as just the pure looks of a person in a company.
As we become more digitally literate expressions of who we are outside of the boundaries of an organization become more important. Even BBC Click had a section on it about protecting elements of your facebook profile from the eyes of your management.
Of course keeping secrets, yet sharing nearly publicly is a strange thing to do, so I think people are just best to be open and honest and let society evolve around them to understand who they are, and to also let them evolve themselves in how they express themselves.
The question would be (to add an extreme boundary here). If someone had managed to win a G.I. Joe of themselves (which in unlikely in this competition you need to be 6-12 years old BTW) and had it sat on their desk at work, how would that affect your view of them? Have they shown creativity, skill in a new field and proven to be a winner as demonstrated by the personalized trophy they have or are they just too weird and strange for the status quo? Have you seen the expression of an innovative form of engagement with the audience or just a lump of coloured plastic?
I always find it worth considering the toy industry, just as you should consider the games industry. They are real industries and they do make money so discount the products from them as somehow silly or not worthy stops people thinking about new ways to engage with customers.