The technology to turn a digital spec into an actual piece of molded plastic has been around for a number of years now. But, as is the way of all technology, the price of that technology continues to plummet. Believe it or not, the printer shown here is available from a company called Desktop Factory for only $5000, about the price of the earliest laser printers.
This printer will take an AutoCAD-like spec and produce a simple, contiguous plastic piece, such as this one:
I want one!!!! First thing I’d do is make some Lego compatible pieces. Imagine the fun you could have with this and a Lego Mindstorms robotics kit…
When I was a kid, there was this video called “Powers of Ten” that showed a progressive series of images zooming out by powers of ten, from a picnic on Earth, out into space and out past our galaxy, then zooming back in by powers of ten, back to Earth, into a man’s skin and into a carbon atom. The video was made by someone at IBM. I remember being deeply affected by this video at the time. Here’s a link to the original video. See for yourself.
Though there is no reference to “Powers of Ten”, seems to me the video below is an homage of sorts, updated with much newer technology and, some would say, better music. I love them both.
We all know that water is incredibly important. As important as oil is today, as big a motivation for war, landgrabbing, and political intrigue, water will be tomorrow.It is said that by the year 2050, some 4 billion people will be facing severe water shortages. That’s half the world’s projected population. The world’s population is increasing, but the amount of fresh water is decreasing.
Anupam Mishra has made the study of water his life’s work. Below is a talk he gave at TEDIndia about the ancient art of water harvesting. Fascinating, and incredibly important work…
Posted by Dave Mark on Nov 11, 2009 in Science, Stu
OK, it’s just a study, but a pretty fascinating one. Researchers at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey (and my brother Stu’s alma mater) found that experiment participants who did a crosstalk exercise designed to stimulate communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain before taking on a creative task, actually performed better on said task.
It takes a massive amount of money and power to place a satellite or other object in geosynchronous orbit. Currently, this task is performed by one of our aging shuttles. One theory, originally proposed by Arthur Clarke in his 1979 novel “The Fountains of Paradise” and currently being heavily researched by NASA is that a very thin, very strong cable can be used as the basis for a space elevator that can drag goods and people from the ground up into a space platform, all at a relatively negligible cost.
One key to making the space elevator a reality is the ability to beam power to a climbing object. Many people are working on solving this problem, spurred on mostly by a $2 million NASA sponsored contest, wherein contestants must guide their robots up a 2,953 foot cable dangled from a helicopter and back down again.