Mechanical characters made easy

Disney Research develops computational design tool for animated figures

Creating mechanised automatons and toys has long been the domain of highly specialised engineers and designers. Yet even for them, it often takes much trial and error to get those tricky movements looking right. This process may soon become something we can all do thanks to a new set of software tools being developed by Disney Research.

The joint efforts of teams in Zurich and Boston were recently presented at ACM SIGGRAPH 2013. It is not clear at this point in time whether the software will be released for the general public any time soon, but the progress they have made is exciting to see.

Read about the set of tools that Disney Research are working on after the break, along with a video that shows both the software in action and some neat 3D printed mechanical critters.   (more…)

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The Neo-Artist: Last chance to get involved

Time is ticking – Kickstarter campaign ends 4pm Friday EDT

When we recently discovered The Neo-Artist, it seemed like Lincoln Kamm was living the dream. He has developed an expertise in helping creative people find ways to produce and sell their work using the latest in digital manufacturing technologies, and now he wants to share it with you.

All of his knowledge (and a few extra practical perks) are condensed into the publication The Neo-Artist, which is the focus of a Kickstarter campaign that wraps up on Friday July 12 at 4pm EDT.

A nice snapshot of what The Neo-Artist is all about can be seen in the clip above, where Lincoln is interviewed by 3D Printer World. Watch the interview to discover more about the campaign, as well as cat-breading and other insights into Lincoln’s creative world that led him to share his expertise in The Neo-Artist.

If you need a little convincing to get involved in this campaign, one of the perks for backers is to receive discounted consultation time with Lincoln himself on your own projects. Imagine having personal, one-on-one time with an expert in making a success of making! Jump on board before it’s too late.

via Kickstarter

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Stratasys acquires MakerBot

$403m in stock takes MakerBot into the big, big league

There are some who say that MakerBot has done more for DIY 3D printing than almost any other company. Likewise, the venerable industry stalwart Stratasys has long held its own in professional circles. So it kind of makes sense that they should team up together.

The two companies have announced a proposed $403 million in stock to merge MakerBot into the Stratasys fold as a subsidiary entity. MakerBot would continue business as usual, with Bre Pettis remaining at the helm. The same goes for Thingiverse.com, MakerBot’s online portal for sharing user-generated 3D design content.

“…Partnering with Stratasys will allow us to supercharge our mission to empower individuals to make things using a MakerBot, and allow us to bring 3D technology to more people. I am excited about the opportunities this combination will bring to our current and future customers.”
- Bre Pettis

If you’re in New York, you can head down to MakerBot’s headquarters in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 20 at 10am for a joint news conference with Stratasys. The rest of us can access the event live at makerbot.com, and an archive will be made available at http://mbot.co/press062013.

Read the full press release from Stratasys here.

via Engadget

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The Neo-Artist: a high-tech guide to making

One man’s mission to solve the economic downturn for creative people.

Lincoln Kamm spent 12 years in the animation industry before breaking out and producing his own works. He has since met with notable success with six-figure sales and is now helping others learn how they too can do the same.

In an upcoming publication The Neo-Artist, Lincoln expands on his college lecture series and consulting experience. The book is a treasure-trove of knowledge that aims to teach creative people about the latest in high-tech hardware and software for turning ideas into real physical objects.

Topics covered include 3D printing and laser cutting, designing custom electronics, clothing and more. Most importantly, The Neo-Artist will also show how to make other aspects of the available technologies work for you to help market and sell your work. It’s perfect for makers who are just starting out and will still have plenty to offer those who have been in business for years, guiding them to the next level and beyond.

So if you are a creative person who’s into technology, be sure to take part in The Neo-Artist Kickstarter campaign and make a pledge to secure yourself a copy of the book. It’s time to leave the rat race behind.

The Neo Artist via Kickstarter

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Mataerial 3D printer prints into thin air

A new way to 3D print without the need for support material.

The Mataerial 3D printer uses a 2-part thermosetting resin instead of the thermoplastics commonly used in extrusion-based 3D printers. This approach allows the machine to print a line directly into the air with only a single point of contact with a surface. The surface doesn’t need to be horizontal or even; the material will even adhere to a vertical surface.
(more…)

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Botanicus Interacticus turns living plants into highly responsive interfaces

A new approach to digital interaction through . . . plants?

Using a single wire placed in the soil, Botanicus Interacticus transforms a living plant into a sophisticated interface. Unlike earlier methods that only identify contact, Botanicus Interacticus uses Touché sensing technology to allow for a range of precise and engaging interactions.

Botanicus Interacticus enables us to use gestures as sliding the fingers on the stem of the orchid, detecting touch and grasp locations of a bamboo, tracking proximity between a human and a plant, and estimating the amount of touch contact leading to a rich amount of interaction possibilities.

Botanicus Interacticus is being developed at Disney Research by Ivan Poupyrev in collaboration with Philipp Schoessler, Jonas Loh/Studio NAND, and Munehiko Sato. Be sure to watch the two videos after the jump to learn about the project.
(more…)

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Laser cut wooden record

Digital music goes analog once again

We’ve encountered Amanda Ghassaei and her digitally fabricated records before, when she 3D printed some rockin’ tracks that were playable on a standard turntable. This time around, she has turned her talents towards exploring the potential of laser cutting to get her groove on.

The visual impact of this laser cut timber is stunning, but how does a record cut from Maple actually sound? As you’ll hear when you click through to the video after the break, we aren’t really talking hi-fidelity… however as an experimentation it is very interesting indeed. (more…)

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Reshaping NYC with 3D printing

D-Shape Concrete printing awarded first place in Waterfront Construction Competition.

When Hurricane Sandy blasted some 565 miles of coastline across NYC, seawalls and other coastal features received quite a battering. Seeking out novel approaches to repairing and redeveloping these damaged areas, the NYCEDC competition “Change the Course” has awarded a $50,000 first prize to concrete 3D printer D-Shape.

The D-Shape proposal is to scan damaged infrastructure, design and fabricate encasements and extensions to the existing surfaces and then fabricate them off-site.   (more…)

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NASA launches three smartphone satellites into orbit

Consumer hardware and open source software help build a $3500 satellite.

NASA recently put three nanosatellites powered by Google HTC Nexus One smartphones into orbit. Dubbed PhoneSats, they are about the size of a coffee mug. The satellites are intended to demonstrate how the rapidly decreasing cost and increasing power of off the shelf hardware and open source software can be used for a new generation of accessible, low-cost space research.
(more…)

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3D Tech and the Future of the Museum

3D printing and 3D scanning to play a major role

Museums across the globe are steadily shaking their dusty old stereotypes, but how far do they actually go in embracing cutting edge technologies?

An interesting publication from MW 2103 by Neely and Langer takes a serious look at the role digital manufacturing can play in paving the way for innovative museums to add value like never before.

Highlighting 3D technologies including 3D printing and 3D scanning in particular, the article paints a positive picture of the way that museums can engage patrons with stimulating, challenging exhibits. You can really see the influence of the rise of the Maker Movement, as shown in the image above where kids learn about 3D printing at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Things get a lot more exciting as you read further, with a “return to materiality” championing physical interaction in an environment that has traditionally been hands-off. (more…)

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