3D Printing is the next industrial revolution

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What if I told you that in the comfort of your own home, you could design an outfit you intend to wear to a fancy dinner function put the specification into your computer and print it out from your home just in time for that event that same day?

What if I told you that technology is available and is very close to being mass produced? Would you believe me?

As a kid, I remember watching Star Trek and there was this particular machine in the cafeteria, where customers would simply input their choice and it would make it on the spot. The ingredients would materialize out of thin air and assemble into the desired meal. Whilst this is a bit far fetched, similar is already happening. This company is selling a machine that promises similar.

All this is possible because of what is known as 3-D Printing.

What is 3-D printing you may ask?

3-D printing according to 3D PRINTING.com is “a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.”

This is achieved when the desired object is rendered in a virtual space through the use of specialized software, which enables the 3-D construct to be brought to life.

Many have lamented for years that the American manufacturing industry is on the decline, with jobs rapidly being shipped overseas and many industries closing in the wake of that. But don’t hit the death knell just yet; 3-D printing seems to be giving a lot of people hope for the future. Some have gone as far as saying that this will be the next big industrial boom. The one that will not have to bring back the lost jobs, but rather create new ones that will have an impact on an economy that desperately needs said jobs.

The applications and uses for this technology is mind blowing, with it being applicable to pretty much every sphere of life. Take for instance the health industry, the ramifications are astounding. Pardon me for using so many superlatives in succession, but this really has the ability to change life as we know it. But I digress, imagine a world where organs could be designed to match those in need, pretty much making things like organ donors irrelevant. No longer would people have to suffer for lack of finding the right organs or donors, when their needs could be addressed with a 3-D printer. Some are even speculating that this could prolong our lives if we are able to design perfect organs to work with our bodies; optimized to ensure that they don’t break down over time.

How many times have we bought an outfit online only to realize it doesn’t fit? With 3-d printing, anybody can make their outfits and the neat part is those clothes will always fit. Why? Because you design to your specifications. All you need do is input your measurements and what type of outfit you are trying to create. According to this article, the hours spent behind sewing machines will also decrease drastically. 3-D printers will take out all the effort, all we have to do is sit back and let the machine do its thing.

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Could 3-d printing even solve global hunger? It’s possible. With a dearth of materials in certain places affected by famine, a 3-d printer could be the solution. We know it only requires certain materials to function. With limited resources, much can be created and effectively. Unfortunately, most of the 3-d printed food coming out still hasn’t solved the taste conundrum. But with so much time and effort going into this technology, that issue will definitely be addressed.

 

In conclusion there’s a lot to look forward to. As the world population continues to balloon and resources continue to decline at an alarming rate. 3-d printing offers a solution, whereas each individual is responsible for their livelihood. Everything from the cars we drive, to the houses we live in may eventually be created by a 3-d printer. The more proliferated the technology is, the cheaper it will be for the consumer. In the end, everyone wins. This is a band wagon you want to hop on.

 

REFERENCES

Giant 3D printer starts spitting out a house – CNET. (n.d.). CNET. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.cnet.com/news/giant-3d-printer-starts-spitting-out-a-house/

The 3D-Printed Car That Will Drive Across the Country. (n.d.). Popular Mechanics. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/industry/urbee-2-the-3d-printed-car-that-will-drive-across-the-country-16119485

“Food is the next frontier of 3D printing”. (n.d.). Dezeen Food is the next frontierbr of 3D printing Comments. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.dezeen.com/2013/03/27/food-is-the-next-frontier-of-3d-printing-janne-kytannen/

The World’s First Lab-Grown Meat Burger Tastes Terrible (Surprise!). (n.d.). Gizmodo. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://gizmodo.com/the-worlds-first-lab-grown-meat-burger-tastes-terrible-1027385867

Kurutz, S. (2013, December 14). Taking Fashion to a New Dimension. The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/fashion/3D-Printing-Clothing-fashion.html?_r=2&

3-D Printing: What You Need to Know About the Next Industrial Revolution. (n.d.). Inc.com. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.inc.com/aaron-aders/3d-printing-the-next-industrial-revolution.html

What is 3D printing? – Explanations – How it works – Industrial – Personal – 3D Printing. (n.d.). What is 3D printing? – Explanations – How it works – Industrial – Personal – 3D Printing. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing/

Star Trek Replicator Nearing Reality?. (n.d.). StarTrek.com. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.startrek.com/article/star-trek-replicator-nearing-reality

 

 

Patent Law Fights Are Killing Innovation

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by Lagosian

 Patent laws as currently structured is killing innovation. Whilst this might be a subjective opinion, one should look no further than the current battle going on between Apple and Samsung, two titans of the tech industry to see that if more companies begin to follow in their footsteps, there can only be disaster ahead.

Just going by market value, both these companies are worth upwards of 300 billion dollars, yet instead of keeping their battles strictly on the products they churn out, they have in recent years been involved in a nasty legal spat that will have terrible repercussions for business and the tech. industry.

Here is a timeline of the case and what has been happening.

Interestingly, both companies have worked together in the past, and still do so but to a lesser degree. Samsung was responsible for creating some of the processors that have run in the Iphones.

Apple believes Samsung copied the design of its IPhone for its flagship phone the Galaxy series. Samsung denies that, and claimed Apple was infringing on its software patents. From there on, it’s been one side claiming the other side is infringing on its patents, whilst the other side counteracts by claiming the same.

Apple was awarded more than one billion dollars in damages, a fee that was later reduced to 450 million dollars. Samsung appealed the decision, and both sides are still embroiled in court(s) all over the world trying to one-up the other. As an outsider, I can’t help but feel disappointed that these two companies continue to resort to such strategy, spending both money and time in what many view as a needless battle.

For those who might be wondering what a patent is, below is a brief definition of what it is and why it differs from copyright law.

WHAT IS A PATENT?

A patent protects inventions or discoveries. One can say it’s a form of copyright, but unlike copyright, in other to use said invention, the permission or authorization of the patent holder is required.

Also there are companies like Microsoft and Rockstar, who buy a ton of patents and then license it out to technology firms. They have no interest in creating products with some of the patents they own; rather they see them as investments that can be used to bring back money for their respective owners through procedures such as licensing.

Congress in making new copyright laws for this digital age has to think long and hard about the role of industries and corporations in deciding what’s beneficial for them and the public. One should note that just because it helps the corporation doesn’t mean it helps the public.

I have provided examples of tech giants like Apple, Samsung and even Microsoft who have used the court room and patents to generate billions instead of using the marketplace. It is very disturbing how companies now actively go out and purchase patents like we would groceries, but not because they intend on using said patents to create products that would get out into the public, but to arm themselves and prepare for any litigation and in some cases, be the ones doing the litigating. I believe when the first patent and copyright laws were created, this was not what the creators had in mind. In fact one could say this is detrimental to the economy because instead of companies and corporations duking it out in the marketplace, tossing out ideas that the public gets to decide on and benefit from, said companies and corporations would rather hoard such innovations and sue others.

A lot of the technology we rely on is only possible because of patents but if these big companies have their way, the progress that has been made in that realm is going to come to a grinding halt, as innovators will be too concerned with not getting sued rather than churning out the products required to improve the industry.

 

 

 

References

Why are Apple and Samsung throwing down? A timeline of the biggest fight in tech. (n.d.). Digital Trends. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/apple-vs-samsung-patent-war-timeline/#!ZuJRK

Samsung confirmed to be manufacturer of Apple’s new A7 chip in iPhone 5s. (n.d.). Samsung confirmed to be manufacturer of Apple’s new A7 chip in iPhone 5s. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/09/20/samsung-confirmed-to-be-manufacturer-of-apples-new-a7-chip-in-iphone-5s

Pepitone, J. (2013, August 8). Apple vs. Samsung scorecard: a timeline of the patent battle. CNNMoney. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/08/technology/mobile/apple-samsung-timeline/

TechRadar. (n.d.). Computing reviews, news. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing/how-microsoft-makes-money-from

Backed by Apple and Microsoft, Patent Troll Makes Money Off Android | Business | WIRED. (0014, January 21). Wired.com. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://www.wired.com/2014/01/huawei/

How much is that patent lawsuit going to cost you? – CNET. (n.d.). CNET. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://www.cnet.com/news/how-much-is-that-patent-lawsuit-going-to-cost-you

 

Bringing Products to Life with Blippar

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Today, several articles were written about Blippar creating a new app for Google Glass that will allow users to have augmented reality experiences with products and print pages. I found this to be really interesting after doing research for my group project on augmented reality. I was curious as to how the app would work and what it could do for brands.

Blippar is a successful start up company that creates augmented reality apps for smartphones. They have been very successful so far. Basically, the app user is able to find a product or print page that is Blippar compatible, fill their screen with the image, and the image comes to life, giving animation and information to the user that would otherwise be unknown. Some brands that are already Blippar compatible are Heinz and Coca-Cola. The technology is currently being used to find more information out about products, but it could be used for so much more with its introduction to Google Glass. In an article from Quartz, Rachel Feltman notes that the popular entertainment tool of augmented reality can serve educational purposes. During her interview with Ambarish Mitra, CEO and co-founder of Blippar, he mentions the example of being at the natural history museum and using the app to see more information about the exhibits or using the technology for medical implications.

We already know that Augmented Reality and Blippar are amazing and innovative pieces of technology, but what makes them even better is that they are now available on Google Glass, which will eliminate the smart phone that creates a barrier between user and AR. With the glasses, the user will have a seamless experience with Augmented Reality, able to view any type of information at their disposal with full integration.

Even though the technology is brilliant, Google Glass augmented reality is very much so a niche market. Google glasses are not set to hit main stream outlets until next year, but Blippar and other versions of augmented reality applications will be ready when the product is opened up to the mainstream market.

As of now, many brands are using Blippar to connect to their viewers via their smart phones. They are launching augmented reality campaigns, releasing secret information and sales, sneak previews of new collections and so on. While most of Blippar’s clients are large brands, they do not plan on bombarding people with advertising messages. The messages will not pop out at people using Google Glass or provide distraction. Users can choose to use the app by saying ‘ok, glass’, and then they will be able to view whatever it is that interests them. In the future, the company would like Blippar to become a platform for users to create their own content, like a Wikipedia for Google Glass. Personally, I am skeptical of this service. We all know how skewed information can be on the internet, so it seems risky to allow anyone to writing anything on an augmented reality platform. The product is very intriguing but only time will tell how well it plays out in the market after Google Glass becomes a more mainstream part of society.

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Reshaping culture from behind a pair of glasses

Google Glass looks and sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi dime novel. Its sleek, futuristic design tucks a slim webcam-like device away on the top right corner of a pair of glasses. Fittingly, it comes in colors with names like shale, tangerine and sky. Glass allows its owner to take pictures and videos, ask for directions, send a message – all without lifting a finger. According to Google, Glass will even give “answers without having to ask” (Google, Glass).

And it looks absolutely ridiculous.

At least for now.

On Wednesday, On the Media blogger PJ Vogt posted a short reflection on a Google Glass and a 33-year-old NPR story. Vogt admits that he thinks Glass looks “pretty silly,” but after hearing an interview with one of Glass’s designers, he started to wonder about other portable technologies that seemed ridiculous at first (Vogt, 2014). So Vogt dug up a 1981 NPR story about Walkmen. The parallels are uncanny. Interviewees told the reporter that Walkmen are “obnoxious” (Profitt, 1981). Others said that the new technology “causes people to isolate themselves from their experience,” that they are like “putting blinders on” (Profitt, 1981).

Today, it’s a different story. I look around on the L, and most of the riders have tuned out the world with their iPods and iPhones. There’s nothing new about a personal music player we carry with us. Wearable technology, however, is still untamed territory. A personal assistant that perches on your glasses seems a little too 1984 for some of us.

As technology evolves, our society evolves with it. Those on the forefront introduce a new idea, and as it is adopted, culture crafts the etiquette surrounding it. This week’s class reading had a prime example of this: a California driver pulled for speeding over while wearing Google Glass was cleared of charges (Watson, 2014). There was reasonable doubt that the device was in use when the driver was pulled over, the judge ruled. The lingering question, however, is whether Glass will be treated like any other type of screen used while driving.

With new technological strides, social norms and legal statutes try to keep up. Julie Watson, the reporter who wrote the AP article covering the Glass case, questions where responsibility lies when devices and humans clash(Watson, 2014). What legal precedent do judges fall back on when a driverless car crashes into a 16 year old’s 1999 Subaru Forester? Is Google Glass a dangerous distraction or a useful GPS system?

Thirty-three years from now, as some new technology is pushing society’s limits, a new generation might look back and laugh at our attempts to fit this whole new frontier into existing societal constraints. The Glass driving bans being introduced right now in New Jersey, West Virginia and Delaware may be repealed or tightened. We don’t know just yet. But as Pingree and Gitelman pointed out in New Media 1750-1915, part of the appeal of new media is the ability for a culture to claim and cultivate it. This is our chance to tame Glass or move aside and let it take over. The consequences are as unpredictable as the Walkmen’s three decades ago.

 

References

Vogt, P. J. (2014, January 29). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.onthemedia.org/story/google-glass-dorky/

Watson, J. (2014, January 17). California motorist cleared in google glass case. Associated Press. Retrieved from http://bigstory.ap.org/article/woman-testify-against-google-glass-citation

Google. (Producer). (2013, February 20). How it feels [through google glass] [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1uyQZNg2vE

Google. Glass. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.google.com/glass/start/

Technology in Dystopian Novels

Dystopian novels have become very popular, and many are gaining popularity through their movie adaptations – just a simple Google search will bring up a slew of novels such as Divergent, Fahrenheit 451, The Hunger Games, and The Maze Runner. What I have noticed in all of these up and coming novels is the almost overbearing presence of advanced technology – and I wonder just how much this technology influences the dystopian themes of these novels.

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Amazon.

In Divergent, a novel by Veronica Roth that is a soon-to-be movie, the setting takes place in a post-apocalyptic Chicago with a rigid political system designed to keep the surviving population in check. This novel is riddled with advanced technologies, mostly centered around different serums developed to further police the factions of people. These serums range from a truth serum to a simulation serum that interacts directly with the individual’s thoughts and memories to create an alternate reality once they are injected.

In the classic novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury the technologies present also focus on a close interaction with the surviving population – this time it is an earpiece that is designed to manipulate the individual’s thoughts in such a way as to distract them from forming their own ideas.

In the very popular Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the technology present is less dependent on the characters and more dependent on controlling the entire population as a whole. For example, the technology is found in the elitist social strata in the form of advanced weaponry, security features, and new luxurious innovations to make a high-end life even easier than it already is by furthering the socioeconomic gap.

And finally, the novel The Maze Runner by James Dashner has a similar technology as The Hunger Games – where the technology is not directly in contact as with the first two novels I mentioned, but is more present in the surrounding environment. In this novel, the technology is seen in the very setting of the characters – in the skyscraping and ever moving walls of the maze itself and the mysterious mechanical creatures that haunt the maze.

Of all of these novels I have mentioned, they are all dystopian and they all include advanced technology that is perceived in a negative light. I wonder if this negative view of technology in these novels is like a foreshadowing of what is to come – not in the sense that technology may someday be used to control us, but that whatever new forms of technology that may someday exist, they may be used as agents of corruption.

 

References

Amazon. (2014). Divergent (Divergent Series). Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Divergent-Veronica-Roth/dp/0062024035/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391051336&sr=1-1&keywords=divergent

Amazon. (2014). Fahrenheit 451: A Novel. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Fahrenheit-451-Novel-Ray-Bradbury/dp/1451673310/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391051276&sr=1-1&keywords=fahrenheit+451

Amazon. (2014). The Hunger Games (Book 1). Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Games-Book-1/dp/0439023521/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391051215&sr=1-3&keywords=hunger+games

Amazon. (2014). The Maze Runner (Book 1). Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Maze-Runner-Book-1/dp/0385737955/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391051076&sr=1-2&keywords=the+maze+runner

Skype Creates Connections

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Skype has been one of those companies that his been able to profit on peoples yearning for contact with loved ones. Skype is a video chat software that allows for real time video conferencing with people who can be situated all around the world. Skype recently launched a “Stay Together” initiative, which asked consumers to tell their stories about their long-distance connections with people. Customers were asked to post videos explaining their story and how Skype in particular has helped them keep a close relationship with the people they are not able to see in person.

http://www.skype.com/en/

The “Stay Together” campaign is a very smart advertising tactic for Skype. The videos uploaded manage to attract and hit home with consumers who are going through the same thing and it also brings awareness to other consumers who are not familiar with how Skype works.  One of the stories Skype decided to highlight was that of Sarah and Paige, who are both from different countries and have never met each other outside of Skype. What makes their story unique is that both Sarah and Paige were born without their left arms. Skype allowed them to form a bond that they were not able to have with other people. Skype has been able to advertise their ability to create connections with people. This connection Skype allowed them to create has made their quality of life better. 

Advertisements like these connect people on a personal and emotional level. This advertisement in particular went viral and has caught the attention of national talk show host like Katie Couric. When advertisements go viral, profitability for the company is almost always certain. 

http://katiecouric.com/videos/heart-warming-reunion-caught-on-camera/

As a consumer, I can relate to the emotional appeal this advertisement exhibits. Having been away from home since June, I rely on Skype and Facetime to keep in contact with my parents and siblings. Talking on the phone, and texting is nothing  compared to being able to physically or in this case digitally seeing someone you miss. Although my story is different from Paige and Sarah, the same idea that Skype keeps people connected is relevant. Skype has done a great job at providing a service that people want to use. Its advertisements show the good their software can bring people of all different backgrounds, and situations. The emotional appeal has kept consumers interested and others interested in what this company can do. It is important for companies to uses advertisements that appeal on several levels to consumers in order to stay relevant in the market. 

 

References:

Nudd , T. (13, November 04). After skyping for 8 years, two girls with a special bond finally meet sarah and paige’s story. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-after-skyping-8-years-two-girls-special-bond-finally-meet-153609

Happy Halloween- Star Wars + Verizon

I love themed ads.  Verizon recently launched their Halloween themed ad.  And I felt it was very creative.  The commercial was just launched in the last two weeks.  Verizon decided to take a family and put them all in costumes to go out trick or treating and through the latest Verizon technology they could map out the path they were going to be taking and when and what houses to stop at. 

The all the family members, even including the dog was wearing a Star Wars themed Halloween costumes.  They were either characters or even ships from the movie.  I loved the family aspect of the commercial.  They are sending a wholesome message that trick or treating is supposed to be a safe activity for everyone. And an activity that can be done together. 

The technology that is used in the commercial includes tablets, new smart phones and even a wrist watch “communicator”.  Uses their snazzy communication devices they can communicate with other people trick or treating and compare the best locations and paths to take, by who is giving out the best kinds of candy and who is giving out dental floss.

I found minimal feedback on the commercial itself.  Many different bloggers or forums are discussing the commercial.  Saying how costume choices may not have been a legal choice and they Verizon could be sued.  However I don’t agree with any of this as of now.  I just feel like the commercial is supposed to entice the audience and target market, which in this case is everyone, which is why they chose a family, of different age groups. It shows many different devices in different ways and that anyone can use them. As far as the costumes, it just ties into the very essence of Halloween.  I don’t think there was any intention to disgrace Star wars, or to use something illegal.  And quite frankly the costumes are awesome, and may even boost star wars costumes this season.