3d Printed gunA rundown of stuff you can now make with 3d printers includes eagle’s beaks (there’s an eagle wearing one now), Escher buildings, the world’s fastest shoe, iPhone cases, and yes, pistols.

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St Thompson Techlaw fThe 3d printer promises to become “a photocopier of stuff,” and creative people have already begun to use them for fun as well as practical ends.

But will vending machines that fabricate homemade Legos or Warhammer figurines be the next target of filesharing lawsuits? It’s great to be able to download a Herman Miller Aero chair, but what if you only can afford the trial version, and you’re sitting on it when it crumbles into polymer dust 30 days later?

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3dThe third dimension isn’t just a Hollywood contrivance for repackaging old movies–it’s cropping up in everything from tablet computers to museum exhibits to Web design.

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Thanks to new, easy-to-use standards, the Web just got a lot more animated.

There are some really compelling demonstrations out there that showcase the use of video in conjunction with WebGL and other modern web standards. For example, the spinnjng cube at webkit.org and video shader demo from the 3 Dreams of Black interactive film give you a taste of what’s possible when Web pages go 3d.

http://www.webkit.org/blog-files/3d-transforms/morphing-cubes.html

http://www.ro.me/tech/

Three-dimensional effects don’t yet work in every browser, however. Some have been hard-coded to work only in Chrome or Safari, though Firefox should support them soon.

Confused? Help is on the way.

A new website helps web developers decipher the often confusing world of HTML5 and CSS 3. Which elements are ready to use? Which are still not widely supported? And where can you find polyfills and fallbacks for older browsers? HTML5 Please has your answers.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/ufTC42Hm6o8/

For many developers, the best thjng about HTML5 is that it will drastically simplify the now byzantine process of adding video and audio to a Web page. Here’s a report just on exactly where it’s safe to use this new technique:

For a very thorough rundown of exactly where and how well HTML5 video works on the web right now, check out the excellent report on the state of HTML5 video from Long Tail Video. Put together by the makers of JW Player, an HTML5 video player toolkit, the state of HTML5 video report is mercifully free of any evangelism for any particular technology. Instead it offers a level-headed look at reality, answering the basic questions — where can you use HTML5 video? How well will it work for users? And when will you need Flash fallbacks?

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/iZZg_GSuQEo/

Firefox 10 now has a suite of sophisticated developer tools baked in–though my early tests suggest that its popular add-on Firebug remains the best debugger in the business.

Mozilla has released Firefox 10, which features new and improved tools for web developers as well as more support for emerging web standards.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/6XwMzKq0eJ0/

One problem that Mozilla hasn’t solved is less technical than philosophical: whether to add DRM to an open video standard so Netflix et al. will adopt it.

“The problem is that some big content providers insist on onerous DRM that necessarily violates some of our open web principles (such as web content being equally usable on any platform, based on royalty-free standards, and those standards being implementable in free software),” O’Callahan wrote. “We will probably get into a situation where web video distributors will be desperate for an in-browser strong DRM solution ASAP, and most browser vendors (who don’t care all that much about those principles) will step up to give them whatever they want, leaving Mozilla in another difficult position. I wish I could see a reasonable solution, but right now I can’t. It seems even harder than the codec problem.”

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/J2ty5AACSVw/

20111230-223938.jpgOnce upon a time, sculpting in a 3d modeling program felt more like playing with an Etch-a-Sketch or Playdoh Fun Factory than modeling real clay. Now Chameleon and its haptic arm put let you get a grip on your virtual object.

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The FDA is considering whether to recognize a game aimed at schizophrenics as a “therapeutic drug.” Does that mean you can overdose on GTA? In any case, it’s interesting finally to see a convergence between the two industries that refer to their audience as “users.”

“In what’s believed to be an industry first, a developer has begun talks with the American Food and Drug Administration to get its game recognized as a therapeutic drug. ‘Brain Plasticity has been fine-tuning a game to help people with schizophrenia improve the deficits in attention and memory that are often associated with the disorder. Early next year, they will conduct a study with 150 participants at 15 sites across the country. Participants will play the game for one hour, five times a week over a period of six months. If participants’ quality of life improves at that “dosage,” Brain Plasticity will push ahead with the FDA approval process.’”

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/09/27/060223/Developer-Seeks-FDA-Approval-For-Therapeutic-Game

Meanwhile, in other virtual health news:

“Rite Aid today announced it is offering virtual face-to-face physician consultations through an in-store kiosk. The virtual consultation services are currently being tested in the Detroit area, but the company expects they will do well and the virtual consults will expand to other regions. The service costs $45 for a 10-minute physician consultation. Consultations with nurses are free.”

http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/09/27/0541231/Rite-Aid-Drug-Stores-Offer-Virtual-Doc-Visits

But wait, there’s more:

They are the two big tech buzzwords of the moment. Now a combination of 3D printing and augmented reality can help researchers design more effective drugs.

At Arthur Olsen’s Molecular Graphics Lab at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, research teams model biological viruses – including HIV – and attempt to work out what kind of proteins and ligand molecules can latch onto them, to see which might inhibit or disable them.

As Olsen shows in this video, 3D printing allows them to create accurate plastic models of virus segments and the potential drug molecules. With smart use of magnets they can be made to self-assemble, too.

But for calculating which drug will likely connect with a receptor area using the least energy, augmented reality comes into play: using small webcam targets on the model virus, they can map it to a computerised model of itself so the researcher can see it move on screen.

(Via Bruce Sterling)

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/onepercent/2011/10/3d-printed-viruses-meet-their.html

And then there’s Deepak Chopra.

Leela, Deepak Chopra’s debut game for Xbox 360 Kinect and Wii, is part relaxation mechanism, part new age stoner candy.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/vu3zE2BRepc/

Not be outdone, AT&T wants to wire health care into diapers for the young and old. (Shades of Mike Scott’s wearable computing Friend Finder…)

a growing list of people could benefit from connected clothing, says AT&T, which claims ‘the stars have aligned’ for this technology. Prices of clothing sensors have come down; Wi-Fi and wireless networks have become ubiquitous; and mobile apps have become easier to design and simpler to use. ‘For example, parents of babies could cover them in connected clothing to check on their children when they were out of the house … And relatives of elderly people who are “aging in place” in their homes could check on their vital signs and make sure their loved ones haven’t fallen. This could help the elderly stay out of assisted living facilities, as most prefer to do.’”

http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/11/04/2119205/att-pushes-connected-clothing-for-healthcare

Microsoft shows off a “holodesk” whose 3d environment you can manipulate with your hands. Add quantum levitation to make solid holo-objects move through space–revealed in a stunning video below–and a holodeck starts to look a lot less like Star Trek and a lot more like somebody’s research lab.

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Cheap “fabbers” and easy-to-use photo-conversion software make 3d art, medical models of organs, even a working plane. Is 3d fabrication finally taking off?

Since Photofly, a service that turns uploaded photos into three-dimensional models, was introduced in May, it has received an average of 80 uploads an hour, for a total of 70,000 images, according to Autodesk, the service’s creator….

Among the dozens of videos of 3-D models on the site are representations of stuffed animals (like Eeyore), battleships, Lego men, kitchen tables, fruit dishes, remote controls, vacation souvenirs, crab arms, Nerf guns, sneakers and remote controls. If anything, it’s notable how mundane the objects are, an indication of how easy this modeling process — once mainly the purview of laser scanners — has become.

Like Microsoft’s Photosynth service, Photofly stitches together images using stereo photogrammetry, using visual cues to reverse-engineer the geometric properties of objects. But Photofly also creates 3-D object files in various formats that can be imported into computer-aided design programs. Thus the images can be printed, reproduced, manipulated and mixed with other 3-D models. In other words, the scene from Mission Impossible 3 where surreptitiously snapped photos of a villain are transformed into a mask of his face seems less remote….

Photofly’s 3-D models can be made with as few as five photos, though the service recommends that users take at least one photo for every 10 degrees of perspective they want to cover….

Originally, the Photofly researchers thought professionals would be the main users, said Brian Mathews, a vice president at Autodesk who oversees Photofly, as there are already 150 or so industries that Autodesk works with. They saw it being used for things like architecture and the preservation of aging artifacts.

But users have come up with an ever-expanding set of applications. One forensic investigator is testing to see if the technology can be used for crime-scene investigations (here is a model of a footprint in the snow). Another designer imported computer models he had created and combined them with ones scanned by Photofly to create a hybrid reality scene.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/14/photofly-brings-3-d-models-to-the-masses/

Now made easier thanks to cheaper printers:

3-D Plastic Art for the Masses: Ready to Print

A Brooklyn company sells consumer-grade 3-D printers and preaches an open-source mantra, empowering artists and creative aspirants.

A new economy?

Already, 3D printing has been used to make tools and artworks, custom-fitted prosthetics for amputees, components for aviation and medical instruments, solid medical models of bones and organs based on MRI scans, paper-based photovoltaic cells, and the body panels for a lightweight hybrid automobile.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/08/01/1723212/3D-Printing-and-the-Replicator-Economy

oh, and a plane:

“It was printed on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine, which fabricates plastic or metal objects, building up the item layer by layer. No fasteners were used and all equipment was attached using ‘snap fit’ techniques so that the entire aircraft can be put together without tools in minutes. The electric-powered aircraft, with a 2-meter wingspan, has a top speed of nearly 100 miles per hour, but when in cruise mode is almost silent.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/07/30/1832201/Aircraft-Made-From-3D-Printing

Desert3d digital fabricators are all the rage among DIY designers, and promise to decentralize the physical economy in the way the Internet decentralized the information economy. On the other hand, many environmentalists just see the fabber as another energy-sucking contraption that fills our world with plastic gewgaws.

Now an art student has juryrigged a “solar sinter,” replacing a fabber’s high-tech laser with focused sunlight and toxic resin with sand. It all fits in a suitcase he brought to the Egyptian desert for a test run.

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Animators using open-source 3D software have begun sharing the code, data, and even tutorials on how to make technically accomplished shorts. But meanwhile, musicians wanting to share their work suffered a setback in Canada when it was revealed that industry lobbyists pressured the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (a public utility) into agreeing not to play Creative Commons-licensed music over their podcasts. Will Hollywood someday pressure theaters not to show movies made with Blender?

http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/10/02/215257/Creative-Commons-Video-Challenges-Hollywoods-Best?from=rss

A short film entitled Sintel was released by the Blender Foundation under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license (YouTube link). It was created by an international team of artists working collaboratively using a free, open source piece of 3D rendering software called Blender. No Hollywood studio was involved in its making….

“Next on our todo is wrapping up the 4-dvd box release, NTSC/PAL discs with extras and documentary, and 2 DVD-ROMs with tutorials,and all the data to reproduce the film entirely.”

Here’s a link to the CBC story:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/10/08/2346236/CBC-Bans-Use-of-Creative-Commons-Music-On-Podcasts?from=rss


A chisel and hammer? Modelling clay? That’s so 20th century. The “M” museum in Leuven, Belgium offers visitors an introduction to the brave new world of 3d scanning and fabrication–video below the fold.

(via Bruce Sterling)

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