Sep 282011
 

Thought up a foldable power-cord or a new device for straining pasta? Pitch it to “social product-development” Web site Quirky, where crowdsourcing meets professionals.

Now if only Quirky didn’t outsource its manufacturing to China. Maybe someone could launch a site that connects local ideas to local fabricators. (Any of your neighbors have 3D printers…?)

“Quirky was based on my realization of how hard it is to find a manufacturer, get financing (and) know all the disciplines like industrial design, mechanical engineering, prototyping, merchandising, retail logistics,” [Ben] Kaufman, 24, told Wired.com by phone. “All these things need to come together just to push one little product out into the real world. Basically, if you have the right idea, we’ll do all the heavy lifting to make the idea you have in your head see the light of day.”

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/pBPTlR7_CjA/

Sep 242011
 

Demonstrating the power of many-to-many image- and sound-making, artist Aaron Koblin and his collaborators stitch compelling interfaces from huge data sets. Watch Koblin transform airline flight data into global travel patterns, frame-by-frame drawings into an animated tribute to Johnny Cash, and Google Street View into an Arcade Fire video personalized for each listener.


Continue reading »

Sep 052011
 

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

Nov 282010
 

It’s a bit like The Pool, for movie studios.

http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/10/11/18/0010208/Amazon-Launches-Online-Movie-Studio

“Amazon.com is getting into the movie business by opening Amazon Studios, with the goal of using the Internet to put fresh movies on the big screen. The new Internet movie studio will allow writers to upload screenplays to its website where the global Internet audience can read them and offer feedback, or producers/directors can use them to make test movies. The test movies, which must be at least 70 minutes in length, can also be uploaded.”

As pointed out by a Slashdot commenter, Max Keiser has another model where script writers could share profits: Pirate My Film.

Keiser, a film-maker, broadcaster and former broker and options trader offers a vision of what this could really be like.

http://www.piratemyfilm.com/pages/how_it_works

“The system automatically creates enough shares to match the funds request and then makes those shares available for PMF members to reserve.” Why just read and offer feedback when you could support a work from day one and perhaps share in some value.