PotteryPrint: the new 3D printing iPad app for kids

With the right technology, 3D printing is child’s play.

PotteryPrint is a truly exciting new iPad app that lets children use a virtual pottery wheel to create completely unique works of art ready for 3d printing.

The PotteryPrint team is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter to take their prototype to deployment.

They’ve got 20 days and $10,000 to go. You can support the project for as little as $1, and they’ve got some great pledge rewards including a home-baked dozen of your favorite cookies!

I talked to Brian, Cameron and Shlok from PotteryPrint to find out more about this app, their inspiration behind the project, and their thoughts on the intersection of technology and childhood education.

First up, can a kid really use a 3D modeling app?
Kids can do amazing things if given the right tools, but until now the majority of 3D design software has been created using traditional CAD-based software which is often complex and takes some training to use effectively.

The amazing thing about tablets is that the touchscreen interface just clicks with kids. I (Cameron) have a two year old and four year old — both can easily navigate the family iPad: pointing at something comes far more naturally to children than using a mouse. The combination of touchscreen and the malleability of clay makes PotteryPrint immediately accessible to kids. It calls on something natural, something primitive. Your hands, making something.

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The next innovations in CG

Can you predict the future? Have a say in the CG Society forum discussion.

Around here at Ponoko, there is often much talk about how Digital Manufacturing is our Next Big Thing. As a part of this conversation, it can also be interesting to see what else is happening in related fields. Often the developments and advances in neighbouring industries can have quite an influence on what happens in our own back yard.

Enter CG Society. An online community where many of the world’s leading digital artists get together to knock each others’ socks off. Aside from portfolios, galleries and competitions, CGS also boasts an active forum in which I recently spotted a thread asking what the next innovations in computer generated artwork will be. Not sci-fi dreamings of the distant future… but what is just around the corner.

Responses include the usual suspects of greater computing power and faster speed. But things get interesting when people talk about specific technological advances like specular lighting and motion capture that were the stuff of pipe dreams only a few years ago, yet are everyday fare for digital artists today.

Also popping up in the discussion are the more Ponoko-familiar modeling, scanning and 3D printing technologies and how to best make use of them.

The colourful conversation continues, with amateurs and experts alike sharing their thoughts on just where these technologies will be in a few short years.

via CGSociety.org

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A primer on 3D printing

2012 may be the year of 3D printing: Lisa Harouni on TED

We may be preaching to the converted, but for those who still aren’t convinced (or maybe even aren’t aware) of just how exciting 3D printing is, this recent TED talk gives a neat overview.

The speaker is Lisa Harouni, CEO of Digital Forming. Having specialised for a number of years pioneering software development for 3D printing applications, she is well placed to convince even the most sceptical of viewers that we are indeed on the cusp of a manufacturing revolution.

via TED


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Scientists, hobbyists, and entrepreneurs: five fresh interviews from 2011

Best of the Blog 2011 – Interviews, Thoughts & Opinions

Here’s five of my favourite interviews from 2011: we’re talking printed organs, education, DIY, hobby printing, and the future of connectivity. Kick back and tune in!

3D printing organs


PopTech talks to Dr. Gabor Forgac, founder of Organovo, a company that sells “the world’s only commercial bioprinter proven to create tissue.” (more…)

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What happens when everyone and everything becomes connected?

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.

via Sugru

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Escape Velocity podcast with CEO David ten Have

“…treating manufacturing as an unsolved problem” ~ David ten Have

Escape Velocity isn’t just about entrepreneurship in the technology sector. It’s about the social impact and change that’s being brought about by new businesses — or as they say in their own words “innovation that matters, the technology behind the products and services that can change the lives of individuals, communities and societies around the world and create a brighter future.”

Every other week, Escape Velocity hosts a new podcast to introduce listeners to “creative enterprise and change-makers”. They’ve interviewed leaders of companies doing everything from recycled footwear to interactive gaming to global reforestation.

This week they spoke with Ponoko CEO David ten Have and got Dave talking not just about the wonders and realities of 3D printing, but also the underlying vision of changing the environmental impact of manufacturing as well as the challenges of growing a small business in the nascent field of digital fabrication.

Stream or download David’s interview at Escape Velocity.

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What happens when you turn a middle school library into a hackerspace?

guest article by Thomas Maillioux

above: David designs an animation for his LoL Shield with LoL Shield Theater

Editor’s note: Several months ago I put a call out on this blog for a DIY electronics blogger, and I couldn’t believe how many funny, friendly, fantastically qualified people from all over the world responded.

One such person was Thomas Maillioux, an unconventional librarian in France. He told me about his work to bring hackerspaces into the libraries of public schools in metro-Paris to teach kids about electronics, programming, design, and even 3D printing.

He graciously accepted my invitation in broken franglais to tell his story here on the blog. I hope you enjoy!


What happens when you turn a middle school library into a hackerspace?

by Thomas Maillioux

A hackerspace at school

I was lucky enough to work through the 2010 school year with a bunch of brilliant, curious pupils at the Evariste Galois middle-school in Epinay sur Seine in the northern suburbs of Paris.

2 hours a week, we’d meet up at the library to try and answer — through research and tinkering — all the questions they had about computers, electronics, gaming and programming.

We created a small hackerspace where the kids programmed RFID tags, designed a logging system of their own with Touchatags and Google Docs, created animations with Arduinos and LoL shields, compared automatically-generated and human-written code, and even designed their own video games. So what did I learn from this teaching-meets-tinkering experience?

“My project, my pace”

All of the projects I mentioned were chosen by the students themselves. For them, being able to decide what to work on was a huge motivator to actually doing the work — something which might also explain the amazing amount or work the pupils achieved over the few months of the hackerspace experiment. They wanted to come to school early and stay late so they could tinker together!

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DIY without owning the tools — Dale Dougherty of MAKE interviews Ponoko CEO David Ten Have

talkin’ robots, 3D printing, and on-demand manufacturing to the masses

Ponoko’s David ten Have sat down with Dale Dougherty, founder and publisher of Make magazine, to talk about Personal Factory — a distributed and on-demand manufacturing system available to anyone.

David talks about how the Personal Factory platform works (how Ponoko makes your stuff, where Ponoko makes your stuff, and what you can make stuff from), but more importantly he discusses with Dale the importance of bringing on-demand manufacturing tools to the masses.

“You can make almost anything you want, anywhere you are. You don’t need a big lab, a maker space, hacker space, fab lab…” says Dale. “You could do this on a computer, press a button, and have it delivered to you…”

“Exactly. And that’s the exciting thing that has emerged over the past four or five years,” explains David. “[We've] started to bring these tools online. So that means you can have your own virtual factory, your own Personally Factory, that you run from your computer. And the parts turn up, just like books turn up from online stores.”

Many of Ponoko’s customers don’t just use their Personal Factory to make one-off designs. Several small businesses, from jewelry designers to toy makers to providers of custom housing for DIY electronics, run on Personal Factory.

Interested in designing and making your own stuff? Learn more about Personal Factory and sign up for yours, free.

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Waka Roa [First] Light

When New Zealand cultural heritage and digital manufacturing meet in a first of a kind eco-house

Earlier this year Wellington designer David Hakaraia designed a light for the solar decathlon house project.  The house was designed and built by a team of Victoria University architecture students – a group privileged to have been selected as one of 20 university teams to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011.  This was the only entry, ever, from the southern hemisphere.  The house was named First Light, and this is where David, known to all as Hux, drew his inspiration.

Hux’s light references the first waka – traditional Maori canoe that arrived to the pristine landscapes of Aotearoa.  The waka precedent is articulated not only through the overall form of the design, but through its use of Pacific binding techniques and Whakairo – traditional carving.  The Waka Roa light represents the heritage of many New Zealanders with its mixture of design elements from Maori, Pacific and European cultures.  It blends traditional motifs with contemporary technology and expresses Whakairo using digital manufacturing techniques.Hux talks about the project under the cut:

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“We need copying to build a foundation of knowledge & understanding…

and after that, things can get interesting.” ~ Everything is a Remix

Everything is a Remix is a 4 part video series created by Kirby Ferguson. And part 3, entitled The Elements of Creativity, explains how copying is essential to innovation.

The 7 minute video (which you can watch after the jump) explains that, “Nobody starts out original. We need copying to build a foundation of knowledge and understanding.”

Product engineering is the focus of this part of the series, and the video begins with examples of variations and improvements on existing inventions.

The creation of the personal computer is the main case study, and there’s a bonus 4 minutes or so on the concept of multiple discovery.
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