Feelin’ Groovy

Are you excited by 3D printers? I used to be so-so about it; now they have me building one from kit. Why the change of heart? Simple. I was asked to speak at TED @ SXSW a year ago (where I spoke on Information is Food). While we waited for the event to start, there was an opportunity to speak to the other speakers. Which gave me the chance to spend some time with Ping Fu, who spoke about 3D printing and its effect on humanity.

I was blown away, especially by the example to do with children born with cleft palates. I will do everything in my power to drive the cost of 3D printers down; as Ping Fu reminds us, every child has the right to smile.

So since then I’ve been thinking about them, playing with them, researching them.

One of the use-cases I was keen on trying out was that of “faxing” an LP from a scanner in one place to a remote 3D printer somewhere else. I knew that it would be some time before it could be done to any worthwhile fidelity; but the idea that you could scan an LP in one place, send the STL file over to a remote printer, get it to print out the analog object. The principle was simple, just the same as you would send text via telegraph a hundred years ago, or image via fax thirty years ago. [A part of me was also intrigued by what would happen in the world of copyright when this became possible; after the general troglodyte mess created by that industry over digital music, I guess anything is possible].

Which is why, when friend Chris Heuer pointed me towards this article, I was delighted.\

A technique for converting digital audio files into 3D-printable, 33RPM records. Perfect. Go on, read the entire post. It’s worth it. And it’s the shape of things to come.

5 thoughts on “Feelin’ Groovy”

  1. Fascinating. Given the rate of increase in the resolution of 3D printers, we should see a renaissance of analog devices. Wait, the source signal is digital, darn.

  2. Hi Jp,

    I stumbled on your blog a few months ago and find it extremely interesting.

    The 3D printing looks like it is going to lead to an enormous jump in the way people produce and consume things.

    Cant help drawing a parallel to how life may have been pre industrialisation where people were both producers and consumers(agriculture) and ecosystems were limited by geography and these emerging trends show how we may be going back to the same model with the exception of geographic limitation.

    It will be interesting to see how the Legal and IP frameworks world over will deal with these developments.

    Exciting times ahead!!

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