Sci-Fi for the Tech Addict – Part 1 3D Printing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing

The ORDbot Quantum 3D printer (Bart Dring, Wikipedia)

I visited the Restart Project‘s Restart Party at Camden Town Shed for BBC Tech feature, and met some brilliant people who voluntarily fix whatever comes through the doors – be it broken printers, TVs, cameras or even stereo radio cassette players.

Talk that evening was of technology, the joy of fixing things & sci-fi. One of the electrical geniuses (genii?) was rather interested in 3D printing. And as I have read a lot of science fiction books, it seemed natural enough to recommend to Francis a reading list which I thought he’d find interesting.

It’s not the first time – a few years back I chaired the Science Museum’s FutureWorld event – people mentioned specific tech and I recommended books that complemented their area of interest. So I’m going to do the same thing – but online – I hope you like it.

Welcome to Science Fiction for the Tech Addict Part 1! I’m also going to add real life links too for those who want to know more about the technology itself.

PART 1 3D printing concepts: Science Fiction

Idoru – by William Gibson* : Cyberpunk espionage novel written in 1996 exploring what happens when the virtual world can mix with the real world. There’s elements of 3D printing here, but not in the way you’d think.

Makers – by Cory Doctorow* : 3D printing takes a more central role in this 2010 novel about a bunch of entrepreneurs who create a ride. The ride appears to take on a life of its own as more people become aware of it and interact with it. The book hits on very interesting points about how widespread 3D printing might affect society.

Altered Carbon – By Richard Morgan* : Written in 2002, this far-future ultra-violent detective/thriller’s concept has echoes of what society might be like if matter was entirely and completely replicable. Some might say it’s a bit of a stretch from 3D printing, but I reckon it’s a logical extension of the ability to create 3D objects.

*click ’em if you like ’em, these are Amazon Associate Links – if a link has a * by it, clicking might result in a very small payment – which therefore helps me have more time to write posts like this!

 

PART 2 3D printing in real life: Science Fact

Makerbot : all you need to start your own (pricy!) 3D printing workshop.

Shapeways : 3D printing service which also sells 3D patterns for other people to print out.

UK Hackspaces / Global Hackerspaces : Sociable member-run spaces where people tinker. Some have 3D printers to play with. I’ve visited both the London Hackspace and the Nottingham one so far – both are populated by wonderfully friendly people who have a lot of time for anyone who is interested in this sort of thing.

Maker Faire : fabulous carnivals filled with people making stuff. There’s a mini one in London’s Elephant and Castle next month where you can learn to design in 3D printing.

Of course there are so many more resources online as 3D printing becomes more and more commonplace.

If you have any requests for science fiction based on some of today’s tech ideas, let me know in the comments area and it would be a pleasure to dredge the old brain for something just right for you. Alternatively if you’ve read something that you think should go on the list, please tell me as I’m always looking for new books to read!

 

LJ

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More ClickBits

They say work expands to fit the time available – and in this case, the 3 minute tech round up on the BBC’s website takes the better part of a day to make.

This post is really to chronicle the 3rd and 4th episodes so I can remember where I put them on the internet…  Click on the picture to get re-directed to the BBC’s site.

Clickbits Episode 4  – can’t see the link? click here: http://bit.ly/clickbits004

The really bonkers one to do was Episode 3 which I pushed down from Las Vegas during an evening where every other technology person there was also trying to send video.   Once the video was sent back to the UK,  Zoe and Gary put the pictures together on the other end.

It was very strange sending down raw material and seeing a put-together programme emerge at the end of it.

Clickbits Episode 3  – can’t see the link? click here: http://bit.ly/clickbits003

These links were filmed next to the Intel touch-wall, which was a giant interactive cube pulling pictures down from flickr. It was being run on what looked like a normal laptop – which surprised me – the graphics card in there must have been rather tasty.

If you want to see some pictures from CES 2010 , pop over to my flickr site here for a look round some of the weird and wonderful gadgets on display here.

Click Bits!

2 minutes of fame :-)

Pilot show Click Bits - Episode 2!

(RSS/Can’t see the link? here you go: http://bit.ly/clickbits002 )

This is what I’ve been up to the last month, as well as doing quite a bit for bbc click recently… including working with the marvellous Maggie Philbin on our futurology piece. She’s done such a brilliant post here about our visit to Kingswood Warren that I don’t need to add anything…

OK, I will add that we both turned up on the ShiftRunStop podcast last week.

Here are some behind-the-scenes pics of the birthing of ClickBits.

My bag with script in - and an impressive amount of useless stuff

– yes I did eat that twirl. And I didn’t bother taking pics of the usual tv stuff including filming pieces to camera, script wrangling and finding pictures to fit. Unless you want me to next time?

Also the madness of only having a finite amount of time to do an infinite amount of work is the sort of thing is familiar to techies everywhere. Editors, I’m thinking of YOU when I type this.

tape of episode 1 ! yes, tape! Click on this if you want to see episode 1, but episode 2 is better 🙂 Click on the top pic for that.

The grown-up edit suite was double booked for our first episode, but it didn’t stop us – we squeezed into a small office and crowded around a desk and computer meant for 1 person.  Final Cut Pro, in case you were wondering. And yes, we ate a LOT of choccy in  a room so cramped all our knees were touching.

on its way into the BBC system?

This was our 2nd attempt to ingest 3 mins of video into the BBC, we were thwarted by technology many times! It’s always worse when a BIG machine borks – I always (illogically, irrationally and incorrectly) expect computers with 4 screens to be, I don’t know, cleverer.

Ingest point

Humans 3, Machines 2

Finally, the wondrous Zoe (who is producing this with me and is the illustrious @zsk on twitter) came across this hidden terminal and executed some kind of Harry Potter spell that meant the machines had to obey her – and they did.

As I’m off to CES Las Vegas 2010 next week, Zoe and I will be attempting to make the 3rd Click bits episode a few thousand miles apart… we’ll be using yousendit and psychic powers to make that work, but if anyone can do it, it will be the 2 most stubborn people at the Beeb – us!

Nom Nom Nom 2009

…is only 10 hours away, and I’m ready.

No, of course I’m not ready, but I did source a particularly effective chef’s hat

The last month has been brilliant, manic and, alas, almost completely sleep-free.

Excitingly I’m going to be on the BBC again next week as my piece on Music Recognition should be cooked by then – first I have to get 2 or 3 internet shots at some ridiculously unsociable hour on Monday morning, before crawling into the Edit with both Callie the Editor and the sort of coffee that causes spontaneous leg-shaking and hallucinations.

But before that in 10 hours’ time I shall be entering NomNomNom 2009, a charity cook-off where the fabulous Jemimahknight and I are charged with making a 3-course meal and serving it to 2-michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens – so no pressure there, then…

Our team is called Bork Bork Bork – will report back with pix and video assuming I survive.

Photo Captions that Rhyme 1

101120081097 Bloke On Tube Does Rubik's Cube … and so this first pic is entitled:


“Bloke on Tube Does Rubik’s Cube”

Neil (for that is his name) has no idea what he’s just started – unless he’s reading this… taken on the Central Line from Tottenham Court Road.

Shared with Flock – The Social Web Browser  http://flock.com

SlingMedia Release Sling Catcher

…Last week I found myself perched up on the roof of myhotel in Bloomsbury, London, to hear about a new launch from the people who brought us the Slingbox – the device which allows you to watch your own telly from anywhere in the world with decent internet access.

So here’s the video from that freezing cold day, thank goodness I got to go inside.

Listen out for the incredibly tenacious police chase that’s all over the audio, not even Logic 8 could get rid of that triumph of law enforcement.

RSS Readers / Can’t see the link? click here

And do click here for more info on SlingCatcher.

That evening I went to the Harvest Twestival, and I’ll be editing up a video about Social Networking soon which incorporates some footage from this event.    Thanks to Ben Matthews and Bright One for allowing access for the interviews!

Nero 9 Suite and Move It Launch

Yes, we’re AVIn’ it large here at Geek Chic – lots of video for tech lovers! The second one is of Nero’s launch of their fabulous Move It software, alongside a release of Nero 9.  In fact, instead of just being known for burning software, Nero are moving into something they call “Liquid Media”, which is a rather nice way of describing the way we use video, photos and music in the digital age. 

Let’s face it, we’re not fussy where we consume media these days, be it on different platforms such as mobile phones and iPod-type devices, or just plain and simple online streaming like iPlayer on our laptops.  It’s a quick and dirty world, media-wise.  Content is king, it matters less how we ingest it, as long as we manage to input copious amounts of glorious gluttonous entertainment into our heaving brains, day and night, it’s never enough, and it never will be.

But I digress (as usual).

So here is Patrick Peeters, Nero General Manager, EMEA, telling us what it’s all about:

If you want to know more about the Nero Software, pop here to Nero’s site

The software looks promising, and anyone who has ever tried to encode from one device to another will appreciate the simplicity afforded by a rather nicely skinned “drag and drop”-style  video format swapper.   I have my fingers crossed that they will create templates that are optimised for the Archos players, which will hopefully be added to their already generous selection of codecs.

Back into the editing dungeon now for a few more vids, and a lot more tea.