Tuesday, August 7, 2007

That's Cool, with a capital C.

I only found out recently about practical uses of this technology cataloged under the heading of rapid prototyping, defined per Wikipedia, as automatic construction of physical objects using solid freeform fabrication, whereby layers of a fine powder (plaster and resins) are selectively bonded by "printing" a water-based adhesive from the inkjet printhead in the shape of each cross-section as determined by a CAD (computer aided design) file. This technology is the only one that allows for the printing of full color prototypes.

Only yesterday, I saw prototypes created by a similar technology known as Selective Laser Sintring whereby the fusion of powder particles into solid objects along consecutive layers is achieved thru high powered lasers. The process is similar to what is shown in the video above and the results, trust me, real stunning. For those interested, the EU is heavily co-funding research in these technology areas as it sees them as the ultimate survival strategy of European Manufacturing Industry in the next 30 to 50 years (Manufuture).

Watching that video makes me feel like robbing a bank and going out to buy a printer like this. Imagine all those poor sods in architect study bureau's crafting primitive maquettes from blueprints... C'm on... this is the 21st century after all.

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