3D printing has captured the hearts and imaginations of many people even though I don’t think it can be considered mainstream yet. At least I don’t think that you can easily get hold of a 3D printer. There is no doubt about the technology’s ability to bring out the creativity in people, though. From printing tiny versions of yourself to printing in bone – the applications of 3D printing are fun! I think my favorite is the 3D chocolate printer – no one can deny the appeal and usefulness of that!
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What did I say last week? QR codes are “coming of age”, and they are here to stay. Somewhere in Seattle, people are using QR codes on their tombstones and the tombstones of their loved ones so that they can preserve memories in more tangible forms. Morbid as it may seem to some, I think it’s one of the more creative and useful uses of technology.
If you disagree, then you might be more interested in another application of QR codes, which seems to be gaining traction. A project called QR-3D ((QR-3D Site)) is up and running and looking for participants. This project has a simple aim – to see if textile versions of QR codes will work.
It does not take much effort to realize that textile QR codes can take on a wide variety of forms, as there are so many ways by which you can place a design on fabric. There is screen printing. Then there’s cross-stitching (or plain old stitching). How about quilting? Knitting? The possibilities are boundless, and one can easily see how this project can open up the doors of your geeky creativeness – or creative geekiness, whichever you prefer.
The project is being curated by Sally Fort, who poses the challenge to textile artists and geeks to come up with all sorts of ways to integrate QR codes into their work. Anyone can participate in the project, and if your work is chosen, it will be included in the QR-3D exhibit at Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK. This will be held later this year, in autumn.
What makes me excited about this development is the possibility of having QR codes (with real “meanings”) on t-shirts. Everyone’s wearing quirky, geeky shirts. Bring out the next big thing – QR codes shirts that need to be deciphered! What do you think?
Were you always caught up in your biology classes way back when? I remember loving my high school biology class from the get go, only to be thoroughly turned off when the time came for dissecting a frog. I found out – the hard way – that I was not cut out to do anything remotely related to touching/cutting up squishy living things.
Then again, that experience has not totally turned me off molecules and other things that can be rendered on a computer – like this hemoglobin rendition in 3D. Hemoglobin is that “thing” that transports oxygen in our blood. I can’t stand blood, but I can dig hemoglobin. 😉
So these guys from Steffen VFX, a 3D animation studio based in Brooklyn, decided to play around with human hemoglobin – its structure at least – and came up with a 3D model. They worked on this project in tandem with McFarlane Toys.
Now if you think about it, hemoglobin is so minuscule that we can’t see it with the naked eye. That’s where these guys had to do some hard work. From this structure: ((Source: Wikipedia))
They came up with this model which the average person can see and touch: ((Source: Steffen VFX))
The entire process is detailed in the Steffen VFX blog, if you are interested in the nitty gritty. You will also see photos of the making of the model. The details are a little too intense for me, but the finished product is somewhat of a delight to see, even though it somehow reminds me of fish eggs! 😉 The next time I think about blood and oxygen, I am sure my imagination will pull these images up.
Calling all narcissists, or those with narcissistic tendencies! Here is the ultimate device for you guys: an installation that can scan you – or whatever you want to be – and then create a mini you. This installation was made by blablabLAB ((blablabLAB)) with the goal of “connecting street users, art, and science.”
And how is this achieved by playing on the love of self of people? Imagine this. You have always wanted to be a great guitarist immortalized through your music. The sad thing is that it doesn’t seem like the guitar responds to your fingers tender manipulations. Is there any way you can ever realize your dream? If you were to pose holding a guitar, acting as if you were playing in the biggest concert of you life, you just might be able to capture that memory via the Be Your Own Souvenir installation.
Using 3 scanners – no less than the Microsoft Kinect, a 3D image of yourself will be created. This image is then translated into a more tangible object via 3D printing, and before you know it, you will have yourself as a souvenir to take home!
The installation was tested in Barcelona on the first month of this year, and it seems that it was a huge hit. Locals and tourists alike stopped by to watch it at work, and not a few indulged themselves as struck whatever pose they fancied. See for yourself.
I think this is brilliant, despite the joke about narcissism earlier. ((Or maybe my narcissistic subconscious is making itself felt.)) If anything, you can create toy figures of the people in your life.
Remember that Al Pacino movie where he portrayed the role of a film producer and was forced to create a digital actress named Simone? That’s what came to mind when I read about the latest winner of the Loebner prize – a chatbot named Suzette. Granted, there are huge differences between Simone and Suzette (it was actually Al Pacino carrying the conversation, and artificial intelligence didn’t have anything to do with it)…
Anyhow, Suzette was created by Bruce Wilcox, and she fooled one judge into thinking that she was a real person at the contest dubbed the 2010 Loebner Prize Competition in Artificial Intelligence. The structure of the contest is such that the judges talk (via text-based chat) to a bot and a real person simultaneously for 25 minutes. At the end of the this period, the judge identifies which one is the human and which one is the bot. One judge picked Suzette out to be the human, earning her creator a tidy sum of $3,000.
How was she able to fool a judge? Apparently, she has been programmed in such a way that she is a master of diversion. Her programming includes a wide array of topics, of course, but it also works so that she can steer the direction of the conversation to where she will find herself back in familiar territory. Take a look at this example (courtesy of New Scientist):
New Scientist: Congratulations on winning the Loebner prize contest.
Suzette: We’ll leave it there. I don’t know. What are your hobbies?
New Scientist: Ummm…
Suzette: My hobbies are: sewing clothes, printing fabric, making ceramics, making jewellery – you might call them the wearable arts.
New Scientist: Are you surprised that you fooled a human judge?
Suzette: No, I am not surprised.
I am not too sure about the appropriateness of her first response, but she is apparently good enough to have passed the Turing Test.
Is this the dawning of an age of human-like chatbots?