Economist Article – 3D Printers Start to Build Factories of the Future

A shoe sole 3D printed with Digital Light Synthesis (courtesy Reebok)

A few weeks ago the Economist ran a briefing on 3D printing and it’s effects on mass production, alongside an equally good leader article. While it is general in its nature, there are elements in the article about jewellery manufacturing.

Overall, the article both provides a current snapshot of the readily available state of the art in rapid manufacturing, as well as introducing to the general public how current trends in 3D printing are affecting the way commercial and industrial goods are manufactured. They’ve even mentioned in passing a commonly reiterated point about 3D printing’s particular strength in the area of small scale mass production versus using traditional mass production on short product runs.

I’m listing it here as a useful reference for those jewellery CAD/CAM users who may want somewhere to start when communicating to others what the fuss is about with 3D printing.

Economist Article – 3D Printers Start to Build Factories of the Future

The Pilot – The Smart Earpiece Which Translates Languages As You Speak

Every once in a while you see a piece of wearable technology which seems to border on “too good to be true” territory. Waverly Labs’ Pilot smart earpiece definitely falls into that category.

While the idea of making a piece of technology which serves as a fast interpreter is hardly new, the idea of making one this portable and able to work from audio does seem to be something pulled out of science fiction. It is nothing less than the real-world creation of the Babel Fish from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Even Star Trek featured larger handheld devices which offered comparable functionality.

As we speak, the Pilot is currently gathering investment on Indiegogo right now. Check it out there or on Waverly Labs’ own website.

The Phantom Limb Project’s Amazing Collaboration Between Prosthetics and Video Game Design

In one of my previous articles on prosthetic limbs and their potential for creative expression, I mentioned the James Dyson Award-winning affordable prosthetic hand design of Open Bionics.

Since then, Open Bionics has done something amazing — they have established a collaboration with Konami (makers of Metal Gear Solid) to develop creative prosthetic limb design. They call it the Phantom Limb Project.

The Phantom Limb Project (image courtesy the Alternative Limb Project)

The Phantom Limb Project (image courtesy the Alternative Limb Project)

This partnership echoes Ove Arup’s famous vision of designers and engineers working closely together in all endeavours, and is a perfect example of what I am confident we will see as commonplace in the future of prosthetic limb design.

The Phantom Limb Project

3D Modelling in Virtual Reality

3D Modelling in Virtual Reality with VRclay, Razer Hydra, and Oculus Rift

3D Modelling in Virtual Reality with VRclay, Razer Hydra, and Oculus Rift

Now that Google and Microsoft are taking virtual reality seriously, it was only a matter of time before we started seeing some exciting applications start to appear that would be relevant to 3D designers.

As it happens, in the past few months three experimental products have appeared which capitalise on virtual reality for use in 3D modelling. It seems they have all learned valuable lessons from Augmented Reality user interfaces as well.

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Economist Article – The Moving Finger Moves On – Advances in Touch Screen User Interfaces

True to form, The Economist has recently released an excellent technology research piece on recent innovations in touch screen technology.

Economist touchscreen innovations

Image courtesy of The Economist

Some of these innovations may even prove to finally be the way forward allowing us to achieve the sensitivity we need to make CAD a feasible tool for a tablet.

Economist Article – The Moving Finger Moves On

Jewellery as a Projection Mapping Onto the Body?

A couple of decades ago, one resourceful contemporary art jeweller named Caroline Broadhead explored the idea of using projected light as a tool for body decoration. Of course, as with many experimental art pieces, its connections to the practical weren’t immediately obvious at the time. However, with recent advances in body projection and motion tracking, it seems several designers and developers are revisiting this idea of projecting jewellery and accessories as light onto the body. Only this time, they’ve added a whole new level of functionality.

Image courtesy OSKAR + GASPAR

Image courtesy OSKAR + GASPAR

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Jewellery Focus Article – Analysis: New Business Opportunities for Designer Makers

The second in my series of articles for Jewellery Focus has just been released online. This new article focuses on the business opportunities now available which can help jewellery designer makers reach new audiences and expand their businesses.

The Stubbs ConfigureRing App is one example of the many new ways in which jewellery can be produced on demand and sold.

The Stubbs ConfigureRing App is one example of the many recently developed innovative ways in which jewellery can be sold.

Jewellery Focus Article – Analysis: New Business Opportunities for Designer Makers