Tag Archives: Star Trek

Infographic: From 3D printing to Star Trek

The folks at BestComputerScienceSchools have put together an informative infographic that details the rapidly evolving 3D industry.

“On the original Star Trek TV series from the 1960s, they had their fictional replicator technology that materialized food, drink and non-edible objects. Well, now 3D printing is turning fiction into fact,” the BestComputerScienceSchools crew explained in a blog post accompanying the infographic.

“There’s even a 3D printer by MakerBot Industries called the Replicator. Okay, we’re not quite at the Star Trek level yet, but the number of objects we can ‘print’ is quickly growing, and the list includes useful things such as human organs, limbs and even synthetic food including pizza… In the near future, you could very well order something online and have it created in front of you from a home or office 3D printer — not unlike the Star Trek replicator.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the DIY Maker Movement has been using Atmel-powered 3D printers for some time now. However, 3D printing has clearly entered a new and important stage in a number of spaces including the medical sphere, architectural arena and science lab.

Indeed, the meteoric rise of 3D printing is paving the way for a new generation of Internet entrepreneurs, Makers and do-it-yourself (DIY) manufacturers. As such, the lucrative 3D printing industry remains on track to be worth a staggering $3 billion by 2016.

An Arduino-powered poker table for Quark

Before arriving on Deep Space Nine (DS9), Quark served as a cook aboard a Ferengi freighter for 8 long years. Obviously sick of the kitchen, the enterprising Ferengi decided to go into business for himself on the station by opening up an eponymously named bar which was soon famous for hosting all kinds of shady galactic deals.

Much to chagrin of hard-core Trekkies (present company included), the Star Trek universe, like Deep Space Nine and Captain Benjamin Sisko, is a work of fiction (or science fiction, to be precise).

Nevertheless, this Arduino-powered table, designed by Justin Trzeciak is real, even if it would look right at home in Quark’s bar on DS9.

Truthfully, I’m tempted to say it would make a fine Federation briefing table for Captain Kirk (at least in the hokey original series), but I’m sure some of you would vehemently disagree. So let’s stick to the facts.

“The poker table [has] RGB LEDs at each seat. They sit underneath white polycarbonate such that the light is diffused across the whole section. The LEDs are on a strip, but they are digitally addressable. That way, each of the 96 individual lamps can be controlled using only two output pins of a microcontroller,” Trzeciak explained in a brief project description recently posted on MakeZine.

“I used the Arduino UNO R3 (Atmel ATmega328) along with the Ethernet shield for this project. With the Ethernet shield, I was able to make a web app to control the table. I originally wired up some switches and potentiometers to control the lights, but the web app turned out to be far more intuitive. Also, I chose to do a web app over a mobile app or desktop application for its cross platform nature (the programming is executed on three different levels).”

Frankly, we think this table rocks pretty hard and yes, would gladly sit around it at Quark’s. Care to make a wager?