Thursday, December 22, 2005

Disney site lets customers design products

Disney site lets customers design products

Disney's online shopping site on Wednesday launched its first "You design it" feature in a move aimed at riding the fast-growing trend toward giving choosy Internet shoppers exactly what they want.

Disney partnered with online customization site, which licenses thousands of images from Warner Bros., Marvel Comics, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox, among others, and also allows users to sell their own art for use on personalized T-shirts, greeting cards and postage stamps.

Zazzle's Disney boutique, which can be accessed via and, allows consumers to select a Disney character, T-shirt style and color and to add a name or phrase from an approved list.

Disney, which has long allowed customers to add their names to items sold at its stores and theme parks, is "constantly looking to add personalized items for guests," sai
d David Barad, Disney's vice president of marketing for

Personalized products made up 10 percent to 12 percent of Disney Shopping's overall business last year and were expected to grow to 15 percent, he said.

"Of the items that we have for personalization, over 90 percent (of consumers) personalize them," Barad said. "That is telling us pretty powerfully that they want to personalize it."

Disney site lets customers design products | CNET

Monday, December 19, 2005

The New Global Language

It is not surprising that a manager at Autodesk, a leading source for design and manufacturing software, would say that 3D models are becoming the universal language. I am sure they would hope so, since 3D modeling software is their product. Regardless, Robert Kross, vice president, Autodesk's Manufacturing Solutions division, makes some goods points in this article from Industry Week.

Outsourcing of manufacturing creates the environment where communication by 3D models is needed:

> Efficient communication from customer to supplier.

> Portability of supply chain to allow outsourcing

> The need to "bridge gaps in location, culture and expertise while connecting manufacturers with customers and suppliers."

His solution:
"The parameters, functions, elements, geometry, materials and surfaces of a 3-D model make up a visual lexicon, syntax, vocabulary and expression that can communicate form and function without words."

With on-demand manufacturing then the value of the product will be in the design of the object rather than in the physical object itself.

There will not be any 'counterfeit' products. There will only be unlicensed or illegal copies.

IndustryWeek : The Global Language

Sunday, December 18, 2005

'Programmable matter' Dynamic Artifacturing

No one's even sure what to call it. "Claytronics," "synthetic reality" and "programmable matter" have been proposed. "Dynamic physical rendering" is the label Intel uses.

"I'm still working on my 'elevator pitch,' " said Randy Bryant, dean of the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science, noting he struggles to find a quick way to describe it to potential sponsors. The National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have provided some funding thus far.

...a big pile of beads. Or the beads might reassemble into a piece of moving sculpture, or turn into a chair.

"I don't think 3-D TV is out of the question, either," said Seth Goldstein, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University who is trying to figure out how to use, build and control these amalgams of tiny robots.

Building a moving, sensing, color-changing replica of each person out of nanotech robots seemed a possible answer. "Every meeting would be a face-to-face meeting."

He and Goldstein have even come up with a name for this new media, a successor to audio and video that they call "pario."

Interacting with a faintly glowing replica of a person might seem a little creepy, Bryant admitted. Then again, "I'm sure people of 200 years ago would be pretty creeped out if you told them about radio and television."

Each of the individual robots comprising people or shapes would be a "claytronic atom," or catom. Likely spherical in shape, a catom would have no moving parts. Rather, it would be covered with electromagnets to attach itself to other catoms; it would move by using the electromagnets to roll itself over other catoms.

The catoms' surfaces would have light-emitting diodes to allow them to change color and photo cells to sense light, allowing the collective robot to see. Each would contain a fairly powerful, Pentium-class computer.

For now, the researchers are trying to build a two-dimensional version, with each catom being a cylindrical device a little more than an inch in diameter with its side encircled by 24 electromagnets.
2D Catoms
Eventually, they hope to build enough two-dimensional catoms to begin experiments with shape changing. Next, they plan to build as many as 100 Ping-Pong-ball-size robots that could move in three dimensions.

Goldstein said building smaller marble-size catoms and, ultimately, one-millimeter diameter catoms will be hard, but "sort of inevitable." So much of their research effort is focused on how to power and control so many catoms.

A large, moving shape such as a human replica might contain a billion catoms, Mowry said. A system with a billion computer nodes, he added, "is something on the scale of the entire Internet. . . . Unlike the real Internet, our thing is moving."

Even if claytronics doesn't immediately yield 3-D motion, it might be useful for producing 3-D shapes in the computer-aided design process, Goldstein said. Claytronics antennas could change shape to improve reception of different radio frequencies. A Claytronics cell phone might grow a full-size keyboard, or expand its video display as needed.

Claytronics Home

'Programmable matter' one day could transform itself into all kinds of look-alikes

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Sheet Metal Artifacturing

Robot hammers on sheet metal

Rapid prototyping makes it possible to quickly produce or modify tools and structural components, as one-off jobs or in small batches. A unique process allows 3D portraits and other patterns to be hammered into car bonnets or other sheet metal.

“Incremental” means hammering or pressing a part into shape in gradual stages. In the metal-hammering process developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, a robot guides an oscillating punching tool in circular movements over the fixed sheet of metal. It gradually creates a relief pattern corresponding to the computer template. It takes less than 15 minutes to convert a CAD model into a real object measuring 10 x 10 centimeters.

For instance, it allows high-end customers to modify cars sporting their logo as a relief pattern incorporated in the bonnet, or as a permanent inscription in the fender. Car bodies can also be enhanced with ribbed styling to emphasize their aerodynamic performance. This would be a great asset for show cars, which are not destined for mass production.

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft 11-2005-Top3

Monday, December 12, 2005

Simple 3D Scanner

Roland Advanced Solutions Division (ASD) introduced the LPX-600 desktop 3D laser scanner. With the touch of a button, the LPX-600 samples an object, scans it, and automatically generates a detailed model with a watertight surface.
The LPX-600 comes complete with LPX EZ Studio reverse engineering software. This integrated hardware/software system is an ideal 3D capture solution for all popular CAD/CAM and animation applications.
The LPX-600 can scan objects up to 16 inches tall and 10 inches in diameter. It uses an advanced non-contact laser sensor to quickly generate precise models with a 0.008 inch scanning resolution.
The software supports a wide range of data output formats, including STL, PIX and 3DM. STL files are used by the industry’s most popular rapid prototyping systems, including those manufactured by Roland, 3D Systems, Stratasys, Z-Corp and Solidscape.

The LPX-600, with bundled LPX EZ Studio software, is shipping now with a list price of $11,995.

Roland DGA - Press Release

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Rapid Printed Products

From wmmna:

The design products department at the Royal College of Art in London and 3D Systems teamed up to create products that could only be made by 3D printing.

Check out more pictures on flikr.

According to wmmna this gun worked right off the machine.

we make money not art: Rapid Products