The two sides of 3D printing in “Arms”

In what is called as the next big revolution in the world, 3D printing is slowly making its mark. A world where you can start downloading furniture, toys and other things you would need and print it yourself. Feels almost like technology utopia, but it does have its qualms.

A detailed guide to printing in 3D is already published on the blog before, you can read it here. I am today going to pen my thoughts about what’s the next few steps and where we might go from here. And yes for a seemingly innocent technology as well, there can be a dark side. (Never underestimate the mind of a human being). But before I go all dark and scary, lets start with the positive.

“Magic Arms” for Emma


Emma was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), a rare disease that cripples joints and limbs. Because of this condition, the two-year-old girl couldn’t play with blocks, bring food to her mouth or hug her mother.

That is, until engineers at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children used a 3D printer to create a durable exoskeleton that helps her lift her arms. Emma was able to lift candy to her mouth for the first time while wearing the supportive plastic vest.

The Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX) is made of hinged metal bars, resistance bands and tiny 3D printed parts. Emma calls them her “magic arms.” Emma was one of the first patients to wear the WREX. Now, about 15 of the hospital’s littlest patients are wearing the lightweight vests. The ease of 3D printing makes customization of parts possible. When a piece breaks, on-demand printers enable quick fixes. If a child outgrows a vest, the engineers can simply print larger parts out.

And Emma’s case is not just isolated, here are some more :

With advances like this one, and many others, you can quickly see the draw that many people have to 3D printing. It solves business problems, but more so, it solves life problems and changes lives.

And then come the “Fire Arms”

This summer, an American hobbyist used a thermoplastic machine to fashion parts for a homemade .22-caliber rifle.

Wisconsin engineer and amateur gunsmith Michael Guslick detailed on his personal blog how he used a Stratasys 3D printer and downloaded blueprints for the lower receiver — or frame — of an AR-15 firearm (the closest civilian variant of the M-16).

Guslick has been prototyping ideas for gun parts for years, but it did not occur to him until last year to use his Stratasys to build an actual firearm. “The concept is making its way to the hobbyist gunsmith,” he explained on the blog. He took pains to record how he made the 3D-printed weapon; as to the best of his knowledge, this is the first firearm in the world to be tested.

For the U.S. government, keeping tabs on the flow of physical weapons is proving to be a problem. 3D printing is only making matters worse: How do you control a digital pattern that people can use to print guns in their living rooms?

However, if metal materials become available for home printers, it could become possible for hobbyists to one day print an entire gun. Gun-enthusiast groups like “Defense Distributed” even set up a crowdfunding page (known as “Wiki weapon”) to usher into existence the first fully 3D printed gun. Indiegogo recently shut down its page, citing “unusual account activity.”

In related news, the army recently deployed a 3D printing kit to Afghanistan, including an industrial CNC machine, plasma cutters and more, so soldiers could built weapons on the spot, without needing to ship equipment from overseas.

So well the sort of other “arms” to be printed are not al that great for mankind. Who is to say this will not lead to another incident like the one at the opening of Dark Knight Rises. Access to many weapons easy, is not really something that the engineers would have thought when they made the first.

What I think 

Well there will always be people who will use technology for bad, I think the example of the nuclear weapon is the largest that anyone can give. But the promise of clean energy is worth the scare. Similarly these extremities will always exist in technology, its upto when we will be able to justify the good to bad is when the true potential comes through. In fact, I am a believer that saving one “Emma” is worth a lot more than potentially creating havoc.

What do you guys think ? let me know.

We are being scammed with 3D

LG introduced a new 3D TV this past couple of weeks and the ads are not really stopping. Samsung, Sony, LG, Toshiba, Sharp, all major electronics manufacturing companies have actively promoted and proposed 3D TV’s in the past year. From really interesting Ads to in your face TV displays all over the market, 3D TV’s are the talk of the TV town. I believe this is a big scam that we are all getting sucked into. And since so many of you read this blog, I think its time I shared my two bits along with why I think so, like I have done before. 3D as a gimmick is nearly everywhere, after the success of Avatar and the success that it bought James Cameron with money, nearly everyone is looking to maximize the profits on the 3D bandwagon.

From Games, Movies, TV (Sport) and now into Smart Phones as well, 3D is gaining nearly everyday. And my take on the 3D “revolution” is just that they are trying to bleed us off of our money. Unless we all realize and talk about it, he technology companies will continue trying to drain us of our hard earned money. If you think 3D is about innovation, like what these guys are talking about. 3D has been around for a while, I remember being a kid and watching “Chota Chetan” in theaters with my parents. So what is 3D actually doing ?

Considering that most movies these days are using 3D effect addition to 2D picture, unlike Avatar which was shot with 2 cameras for the 3D effect. The introduction of the 3D effect to my knowledge reduces the sharpness from the image and adds muddled colors and makes the image dimmer. I experienced this effect when I saw Tron in the theater. Many people do not know this but the action shots need to be made slower for 3D because when people watch fast action scenes in 3D it makes them sick. A bit of research will show that close to 25% of the people get headaches or nausea from simply watching 3D.

The SCAM gets more and more clearer considering that watching 3D movies costs the viewer an additional AED 15 here in Dubai. In rupees that would be really close to 180/- or nearly $4. Making it an increase of $16 for a family of 4. The easy picking for the 3D scam are children for whom nearly every movie released in the past year has been 3D. Parents seldom think about money when it comes to kids, but have you seen the quality of pictures ?? Its not even as good as the time you went to see the same movie in 2D. I have in fact seen kids mention this.

Of course most movies in the past few years have been 2D movies converted to 3D, which apparently the way most “3D” movies are still handled. Before I came up with such a strong accusation on the electronics Industry, I managed to see a sample of Avatar which is considered the most amazing 3D movie of all time, in a 2D HDTV screen. Except the movie played off a Blu Ray Disk and was playing on a LED TV running 240Hz, let me tell you the scenes and colors were as impressive. Sure, there are a few neat moments in most 3D movies, but the novelty wears very off quickly and it’s certainly not worth the trade-off in picture quality or action sequences.

Gitex has come and gone in the past couple of years and the number of 3D TV screens has just increased. Even now the thought of wearing special glasses to watch TV has put me off from even considering a 3D TV. Apart from 3D I think the tech companies need to tell their customers that the world without 3D includes thinner HDTV’s with dropping prices and smarter TV’s with internet connectivity, the ability to play YouTube and other online media directly and just manage your digital media at home. But no, these companies push for 3D over and over adding features like Smart TV and Google TV to 3D TV’s cos they can then charge a premium on the premium.

This is a bad detour for the entertainment and electronics industries, and they stubbornly refuse to let it die. In fact, they keep trying to push 3D on us, since many of these new products have been in planning for a year or two (before consumers started catching on to the 3D scam). The movie industry and movie theaters try to force us to only be able to watch some of their top movies in 3D (and pay extra for it). TV makers are forcing 3D into all of their new top-of-the-line LED TVs (and trying to make us to pay extra for it). Content companies are now making their Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy bundles include 3D discs (and trying to make us pay extra for it). Game companies such as Nintendo are integrating gimmicky 3D into their new systems. Mobile computing vendors such as HTC and LG are even trying to put 3D into their smartphones and tablets. There’s only one way to stop the madness. Avoid 3D whenever possible.

This is a bad experiment that the industry is forcing consumers to subsidize. And since they can’t create a better product, they’ve simply latched on to 3D as a marketing ploy that the entertainment and electronics industries can use to trick people into thinking that they are getting a superior experience. It’s only working because just enough people are falling for the scam to keep it alive.

It’s not that we don’t want innovation in real life imaging. Of course, we do. We just want real innovation, and don’t want to pay for badly-overpriced gimmicks and half-baked experiments.

NO 3D for me !

Forget 3D its time for 5D

Middle east and new innovation is rarely something that goes in the same statement without the use of the word NOT, but off late there have been some changes especially in the field of sustainability and construction (duh .. ) that are fuelled out of Masdar and the construction industry. Interestingly I have been finding titbits of new technology resources that are built around the middle east, like Spark Mobiles, a mobile phone manufacturer in Deira or Merlin, the company that is really pushing alternative innovative technologies in Dubai.

But I found my most interesting innovation yet. arcade goers in the UAE will be able to play 5D games within a year.

Continue reading Forget 3D its time for 5D

Why I think 3D TV’s might never work

and a few reasons why I might be wrong

While I was browsing the Internet I found this giant 3D TV screen from LG, and 84 Inch ultra high definition TV with a jaw dropping resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, LG have just launched their 55 and 47 inch displays as well, but this is the mother ship of all 3D displays. Still the adoption of the 3D TV Screens into the homes has been rather slow. The industry seems to be trying to push the technology on all of us, but is the content really there or do people really want it ? these are questions that might need investigation by the companies that are introducing them.

3D is apparently the USP by all the companies pushing the technology but will it really make an impact in the consumers home? Almost every major TV maker including Sony, LG, Panasonic and Mitsubishi showed big screen 3-D TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. Even content providers such as ESPN, DirecTV and Discovery have promised 3-D channels that will begin broadcasting in 2011. Before you start saving for your 84 inch 3D display, Here are a few reasons why I think that that should really consider just getting a large HDTV screen

Continue reading Why I think 3D TV’s might never work

3D Business Cards – More samples

[tweetmeme] My earlier post about Augmented Reality Business cards here and here had generated a bit of a buzz, so I decided to add in all the samples of the types on a single post. Here we go lots of samples of AR Business cards, now getting a bit more creative and fancy.

The year of 3D

[tweetmeme] Ever since Avatar and its awesome success, a lot of people including me have been talking about the advent of 3D and how it will flow into our lives. Well here is more proof of the trend. Movie makers have been working hard to bring a ton of 3D movies to the big screen. Their strategy seems to be that until you can get 3D at home, it’s a sure fire way to get bums on seats in movie theatres.

If at all you were still interested to know how the whole 3D works and what exactly happens with the technology, you can head here. Once you see ti to clarify all technical issues you can maybe check out the releases below.

The first 3D movie to get a 2010 premier will be Disney’s Beauty and the Beast 3D. A rehash of the original, which was one of Disney’s first forays into computer animated features, it is still a great kid pleaser.

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Mixing live action and computer generated animation, it will certainly be a big launch. Of course messing with classics is always a mixed bag, and this will do doubt have it’s critics. But Burton has a strong cast with Jonny Depp playing the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the red Queen and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. Alice will be played by relative unknown Mia Wasikowska. The people that brought you Shrek, Madagascar and err…Kung Fu Panda, will release How to Train Your Dragon 3D. The IMAX only movie Hubble 3D, is next. I’m sure it will look lovely, but the limited release, will mean few people are going to choose it over the real 3D blockbusters.

We may also see the return of Shrek in Shrek Forever After. The fourth in the series will be in 3D, and though it’s a little early to know much detail on the project, it’s sure to be a big hit. Pixar will also reprise their first movie hit, Toy Story, with episode 3, also in 3D. It’s now 15 years since the original hit the big screen.

Last on the schedule for 2010 is something I was initially sceptical about. Tron Legacy is a 3D sequel to Tron. Well I did not say all of the 3D movies are going to be good, but then its a movement. I am sure that the producers and movie makers are trying to cash in on the popularity of 3D as much as possible.

More here and here.