Tag Archives: ZDNet

Creating an affordable and innovative landscape with 3D printing

Years ago, home 3D printing was seen as just a passing technological fad. Though hobbyist printers were never thought of as being able to create high-end products, earlier this year, new waves of affordable and accessible 3D printers have opened the doors for this fad to become a mainstay in tech culture.


According to ZDNet, Adobe’s inclusion of 3D printing models into the Photoshop CC has enabled an unprecedented creative mentality to be adopted by the Maker community. Adrian Mars details that before Adobe’s inclusion of the new platform into Photoshop, many ‘slicers’ or programs that converted 3D models into printer instructions were community created and inherently basic. With Adobe’s large organizational support of the medium, it was obvious that 3D printing was no longer a passing fad .

“With costs decreasing and usability improving, together with the ability to print at ever finer resolutions in a fast-growing range of materials, affordable 3D printers may well repeat the 1980s success of the home computer as they too begin to usurp the older and much more costly ‘professional’ competition,” Mars notes. He details two separate printers, the Matme3D and the Peachy, both of which will be available for under $300 and able to provide high quality products to the home enthusiast.

With accessibility and affordability trending positively, Mars turns to the apparent lack of 3D design education. “There are other barriers besides cost. Designing in 3D is far from intuitive, and education is the obvious route to massive takeup in the next generation — something that needs to be fixed,”  Mars explains. As he points out, it will be essential for the younger generation to adopt 3D design as a requisite tech skill; fortunately, there are a multitude of software options available to assist on this front.

The wildly-popular computer game Minecraft involves heavy elements of 3D design and could be covertly educating the youth about the intricacies of 3D design. Other free platforms such as Blender 3D and Sketchup Make are also allowing for widespread skill building amongst the young Maker crowd.

It is worthy to note that the initial sentiment that home printers were unable of creating quality products is retreating due to the innovation of new 3D printing materials. Mars talks of high quality materials like Taulman’s Nylon and even food-grade polypropylene that raise the caliber of home projects.


In all, it is clear that 3D printing is becoming a mainstay in the technology community. The innumerable creative possibilities that the medium provides are something that simply cannot be ignored. As the technology develops and prices continue to drop, accessibility will inevitably rise. This could allow for a golden age of innovation all fueled by 3D printing.

For more articles about the ever-evolving 3D printing trend, check out our Bits & Pieces archives here.

The IoT isn’t just a fancy buzzword

Writing for ZDNet, Ken Hess says the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t just a fancy buzzword that describes how a refrigerator alerts its owner to buy a new bottle of milk or pick up some fresh vegetables for dinner.

“[The IoT] is so much more. How much more is only left to your imagination and to your budget. You can do as little or as much with IoT as you want,” opines Hess. “For example, if you operate food distribution business, you could install sensors in your trucks that send temperature, humidity, and dock-to-dock travel times back to your home office for analysis. You can also more accurately track the exact expense required to deliver each food product or container to the customer.”

Hess also notes that the IoT is not just about gathering data, but rather analyzing and leveraging information collected by various sensors. His favorite example? The Internet Coke Machine at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Computer Science department.

“One of the computer science students in 1982, David Nichols, had the original idea to poll the Coke machine so that he didn’t waste a trip to the machine to find it empty. He and a group of fellow students (Mike Kazar (Server Software), David Nichols (Documentation and User Software), John Zsarnay (Hardware), Ivor Durham (Finger interface) together to create this now famous connected vending machine,” writes Hess.

“From their labs, they could check the status of the sodas in the vending machine. I’m pretty sure they didn’t realize the international effect this would someday have when they devised their plan. Nor did they realize that anyone beyond themselves would care.”

Indeed, says Hess, serious IoT is coming to the world in a big way and has far reaching implications for big data, security and cloud computing.

“If you look at some of the projections for the next few years, you’ll have an idea of what I mean,” he continues. “Internet-connected cars, sensors on raw food products, sensors on packages of all kinds, data streaming in from the unlikeliest of places: restrooms, kitchens, televisions, personal mobile devices, cars, gasoline pumps, car washes, refigerators, vending machines, and SCADA systems for example will generate a lot of data.”

Hess concludes his article by stating that readers won’t have to keep their ear too close to the ground in 2014 to hear about the IoT.

“If you do, you’re just not listening. IoT isn’t a marketing term or tech buzzword, it’s a real thing. You should learn about it and how it can help your company learn more about itself,” he adds.