On Wednesday we hopped on the commuter train 8 again in the direction of Messe Nord. It’s very handy to have the hotel right by the railway station from which the trains leave for CeBIT and also for Hamburg tomorrow.
When I see men in lederhosen with traditional musical instruments, I can’t resist the urge to start this day’s blog with a video.
Back to business. Yesterday I forgot to snap a picture of a nice product that is aiming at using the social media systems in business, so I went back today to grab one. It’s called Hoozin:
I think this sort of modeling business on the social interaction habits of people is a good approach, starting from the need to belong and proceeding throught the community to the applications and finally value layer. In a very crude way Facebook does this but its very cavalier attitude towards its one billion customers annoys me very much. I don’t think it was a coincidence that systems like this were found in the same hall as the huge Microsoft venue.
On this menu, there is a printable interface. It is the blue hexagon actually. It can be connected to any system, such as Arduino (today it is, in the future they will have their own back end) or to any computer via USB. It is ultrathin, and this product can be printed on a variety of substances from plastics to wood veneer and even leather. In the video you can see how it reacts to being pressed:
In this image the interface has been printed on wood and leather. The interface is capable of emitting light and is responsive from a distance of up to 30 cm, so one could imagine it being printed on an Alvar Aalto birch plywood chair, which would respond to touch.
When I looked at the fair brochure before the event, I searched for 3D stuff of all kinds. I had seen many printers by now, but was still looking for the 3D scanner systems. There was one a new model at the Zmorph stand, and it probably delivers well enough. I found another scanner, this time built with Zmorph, by adding a laser and a camera to the Zmorph personal fabricator device:
Again, it looks to work well, and I do have to say I like the Zmorph adaptability. It was being run as a regular 3D FDM printer, a laser etching workstation, and as a milling tool at their stand, and in total you have ten different toolheads to work with. And it has the chocolate extruder option.
But then I ran into the fellows from the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern. They had two regular cameras and one LCD projector, and with them they are able to capture objects in very fine 3D resolution:
This was exactly what I wanted to see. A hacker ethos project that doesn’t run on some high-end laser system, but shelf-based stuff and some really cool proprietary software. I hope they follow up and we can try to see how this works in our print lab. I was shown how the images can create meshes of 100,000 and more vertices and also capture normal maps as well as UV maps for easy editing in Blender.
I strolled on and met the makers of Formlabs, the cool orange cube-formed printer I posted a pic of yesterday. They had just finished printing this, and I must say the resin process does offer resolution and other goodies beyond the FDM process. Well, maybe one day… the printer costs 3,000 dollars today.
The last thing I found, many thanks to my colleagues, was the incredible 3D printing pen (!) with which those of steady hand can draw in thin air. Essentially it is just a tiny printhead installed in a pen-size device. It has 1mm thick filament, and its extrusion can be adjusted. I tried it first myself, but then gave it back to the representative.
The feed rate is set at 4 and the temperature of the print head is 222 degrees C. This is a very light device, and I can imagine someone with better spatial talent than myself to be able to do wondrous things with this doodler. You can draw on paper first and then start pulling your device up to form real 3D prints, and yes, they had an interpretation of the Eiffel tower that someone had been able to conjure up. This is how it looks when it runs.
And to finish off the day… here’s the most extreme application of the Arduino robot so far, I offer you the Polish students’ robot bartender: