“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk” – Thomas A. Edison
I believe Mr Edision was suggesting that inventions are created when someone’s imagination sees value in something no one else perhaps would. 2011 was certainly an impressive year of bringing physical form to those imaginations.
As the inventions category fit within many of the other categories we’ve featured on Best of the Blog 2011 so far, you can expect to see some familiar favourites…
The Panoramic ball camera is a playful exploration into novel ways of taking photos. You throw the ball up in the air – at the apex of its throw it takes a photo, or a lot of photos in every direction! Genius, where can I get one?
Skallops is a new building system by Evan Murphy, Michael Woods, and Marshall Grinstead that uses small laser cut wooden clips to hold together standard playing cards. The clips are designed in such a way as to allow the cards to be connected in as many ways as possible. You can even connect two Skallops to each other back-to-back.
The system is about as simple as it gets, which usually means it has been carefully designed. The project still has a month to go on Kickstarter, but it is already fully funded by a considerable margin.
Whether it’s laser cutting, 3D printing, or simply craftsmanship at its finest, there has been much to be amazed and inspired by here on the Ponoko blog over the past calendar year. We’ve gathered together (in no particular order) ten noteworthy Functional Art & Objects posts from 2011.
Professor John Balistreri from BGSU talks through this groundbreaking research project, demonstrating the ability of 3D printing to create complex ceramic forms that are impossible to produce using traditional techniques. Amongst other things, you can check out how they are duplicating handmade objects by incorporating the use of a 3D scanner.
The joys of magnets and their mysterious ways is something we’ve all been fascinated by at some point in our lives.
This clever little desktop sculpture from ThinkGeek makes for a fun educational project and also serves quite well as a quirky curiosity item.
Using laser cut supports and a simple threaded mechanism, the device can be finely adjusted to get the small magnet hovering at an optimum distance from its metallic plinth.
The design emerged from a successful Kickstarter project and has since received geeky acclaim all across the globe. Click through for a rather unique double levitation portrait featuring a proud owner with his Magnetic Levitator. (more…)
These are the beginnings of some exciting times indeed
This short film explores how connectivity is changing our lives in ways never before imagined. Through conversations with a mix of people including David Rowan, chief editor of Wired UK; Caterina Fake, founder of Flickr; and Eric Wahlforss, the co-founder of Soundcloud, we learn that there may be greater changes in the next ten years than in all of the past half-century.
“…when the light bulb was the big thing and they dug up all of NY just to be able to put light bulbs in the houses, they didn’t really see the extension of light bulbs – that you could have other electrical appliances.
We are at the light bulb stage of the Internet.”
It’s well worth setting aside 20 minutes to watch, absorb and be inspired.
New techniques for printing antennae, memory chips, transistors, even solar cells
Hobby 3D printers of the future look set to be pretty exciting, with a whole swathe of new technologies coming on stream. Above is one example: a 3D-printed antenna made from silver ink. The curved surface of the antenna makes it dramatically more efficient than the typical flat antenna you might find in your cellphone. (more…)
extraordinary project made with Ponoko Personal Factory
Every now and then something shows up in the Showroom that simply astounds everyone of us at Ponoko.
And the Folding Ukulele from artist, craftsman, and origami genius Brian Chan is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.
With his design already drafted, Brian got in touch with Josh, one of our Community Support Managers, to prototype his project using laser-cutting. As you can see, the design is pretty complex, consisting of multiple flat pieces that need to fit together perfectly to create not just a 3D object — but a musical one! Josh’s reaction to project when he saw the plans? 0_0
Get ready to be zero-eyed yourself when you see Brian’s ukulele in all of its foldable and musical glory:
Another wildly successful Kickstarter campaign: 10 days still remaining
We first came across Marcin Jakubowski’s incredible Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) back in April, following his well-received TED presentation. The concept of GVCS is one of those super-simple, too-good-to-be-true proposals that has real potential to change so many lives.
What is it all about? Imagine a modular, DIY, low-cost, open source, high-performance platform. One that makes it easy to fabricate all of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization complete with modern comforts.
The aim of the GVCS is to lower the barriers to entry into farming, building, and manufacturing. Its a life-size lego set that can create entire economies…