paper Christmas decorations

Print Hi-Tech: September & October

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: sewn books are better; adorable paper Christmas decorations; 3D printing making inroads into Red Dot Design Museum; 3D printed device for regaining fine motor skills.

Sewn is Better: promoting sewn books

I simply loved this series of short commercials by Meccanotechnica, the Italian supplier of book finishing solutions.

The videos promote qualities and properties of sewn books. A high-quality sewn book lays flat when open. You can open it at 360° and hold it easily with one hand. Moreover, the sewn book lasts for generations.

It is not a matter of machine settings or operator ability but an intrinsic quality of thread sewn books. Enjoy your reading experience!

Paper is Better: Christmas ideas

Paper is a great choice for DIY ideas. Using paper decorations for the holidays is easy, affordable, and creatively freeing.

Take a look at these adorable paper Christmas decorations with tutorials. Most of them take just a few minutes, and many are kid-friendly, too. Feel free to choose any colours you want, and make as many or as few as you like.

Need even more ideas? This origami-style collection is sure to contain a piece or two that you’ll love!

Christmas paper decorations

3D Printing is Better: A difference in making

From September 27 to October 30, 2016, Red Dot Design Museum in Germany presented the exhibition “Making a Difference / A Difference in Making”. Marta Malé-Alemany, architect and researcher of digital fabrication technologies, brought together pioneering 3D printed works of art, design, engineering and science.

The exhibition showed how 3D printing can help individuals, enable social changes, and contribute to a better environment. In other words, how 3D printing is making a difference. The exhibition was curated by and produced by Materialise.

Each year, design experts from around the globe decide, which products to exhibit in Red Dot Design Museum. The venue has a long tradition. Back in 1955, the Permanent Show of Elegant Industrial Products opened in the Villa Hügel, the world-famous seat of the Krupp family in Essen.

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

Alexander Shumsky, born in Ukranian Dnipro, invented a hand device that helps to regain fine motor skills after stroke. An ergonomic Holdon gadget priced under $500 is 3D printed with further customisation options. You can put it on without help to make the damaged hand work as usual: to use it to get dressed, make tea, and perform other everyday tasks.

The patented system consists of two components. A hand glove for the healthy hand contains a sensor and a 3D printed part generates electrical impulses to activate motor neurons of the damaged hand. The sensor monitors movements of the forefinger and transmits signals using Bluetooth. The muscle does not feel any difference between an impulse generated by the brain or by the device. Thus, the damaged part of the brain uses another part for guidance.

Alexander started his work while studying at a university in Italy. To make this device a reality, he had to learn related sciences, to consult Italian medics and bioengineers. He has also launched another project aimed at creating low-cost devices for people with special needs.

Holdon gadget to regain fine motor skills

3D in colour

Print Hi-Tech: 3D in colour

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

For July and August, I chose the most colourful news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies.

Today: the wonderful world of pop-up books; the magic of water colour printing; new ways to 3D print colourful objects; beautiful cakes created with 3D printing.

The Pop-Up World: Books in 3D

Do you like pop-up books or do you think they are primitive and boring? Just have a look at this list of the best pop-up books ever made. You’ll be amazed how inspiring they can be. Discover a fascinating paper world in extra 3D dimension!

These wonderful collectables are created by talented ‘paper engineers.’ It appears that the pop-up culture has its own biggest names, and Robert Sabuda, the creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Beauty and the Beast and more, is definitely among them.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-up by Robert Sabuda celebrates the 100th anniversary of Frank Baum’s edition. The book contains a short version of the original story combined with the beautiful artwork in the style of W.W. Denslow, holographic foil on every spread, and a number of mini pop-ups.

Water Printing: The magic of colours

3D printing is rapidly developing over the past few years, but to colour complex 3D patterns both accurately and efficiently is still a problem.

Water transfer printing (or hydrographics) has been around for a decade or even more. While being able to transfer inks on a thin film to the surface of a 3D object, it suffers from the inability to accurately register colour texture to complex geometries.

Now, researchers came to offer computational hydrographic printing: a standard hydrographic technology plus 3D vision system to create a precise texture map. According to them, the cost-effective method inherits the versatility of traditional hydrographic printing, while also enabling precise alignment of surface textures making them look somewhat vivid and real. The results are amazing!

Colours for 3D Printing: A way to go?

Getting colour into 3D printing is not easy. But this year we witnessed a number of announcements including DIY segment that could make full-coloured 3D objects a closer reality.

Stratasys announced the enterprise-grade J750 model based on proprietary Polyjet technology. The printer which is said to print with photorealistic colour accuracy can handle materials of various hardness and even transparencies.

stratasys j750 3D colour

Moreover, Stratasys and Adobe partnered to offer a solution to produce realistic colour 3D models. Stratasys Creative Colours is powered by Adobe’s 3-D colour print engine. The printing platform is called Connex3 (the same PolyJet technology) and allows three photopolymer based resins to be printed at once.

Aad van der Geest, an independent product designer, created the ‘Colorpod’, an add-on for Ultimaker to print in full colour, using the same powder and technology found in expensive binder jetting machines.

Jason Powell, a user from Instructables, came up with a DIY path to bring full-color 3D printing to Rostock Max, the popular delta 3D printer priced only $1,000. While companies like Stratasys are aiming the industrial segment of full-colour printing, Powell shows that the same result an be achieved with open source and shared ideas.

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

The Ukrainian chef Dinara Kasko from Kharkov uses geometry and biomimicry to create the most colourful and appetising desserts. “I want to make something interesting and fresh, experimenting with new creative ideas,” she says.

In her interview to “So good…” magazine, she explains that she is trying to connect architecture, design, and patisserie: “A beautiful cake, as well as a beautiful building, needs preliminary design”.

First, 3D master models are designed, printed and post-processed. After that, they cast the silicone mould. Currently, Dinara Kasko starts to work with large silicone moulds producers: Silikomart decided to put some of her models into mass production. The Bubbles mould (see the photo) will be available for sale in September.

Print Hi-Tech: 3D colours

Publishers’ Forum in Ukrainian Lviv

Print Hi-Tech: May & June

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: beautiful imperfection of old books; conductive silver inks for industrial inkjet printing of electronic; inkjet making inroads into additive manufacturing; Publishers’ Forum in Ukrainian Lviv.

Books and Permanence: The Expired Series

The Japanese term wabi-sabi represents Japanese aesthetics centred on of transience and imperfection. It is the sense of undeclared beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete waiting patiently to be discovered.

In 2013, Kerry Mansfield, an American photographer, created a series of photosdedicated to a strange beauty of expired library books. She shows us their damages that make each book unique discovering its history. Mansfield says she felt nostalgia for the library experience. As a result, she spent more than two years collecting former library books.

“Once they are too abused or out of date they’re written off as ‘withdrawn’, ‘removed’, ‘expired’, and taken out of circulation…. The unlucky ones get recycled back into pulp… Now they have a new life, as portraits of the unique shared experience found only in a library book,” she explains. Mansfield’s goal was to bring these damaged books back to life through photography, treating each as if it were a relic.

Print Hi-Tech: Expried Series

Electronic ink: A way to wearable electronic?

DuPont Advanced Materials launched a new PE410 electronic ink for inkjet Konica Minolta print heads. Possible applications cover a wide range of “lab to fab” processes: from rapid digital design to prototyping to full-scale manufacturing.

The manufacturer underlines that the new ink will enable digital printing for electronic components and circuits with extremely fine lines, including OLED panels, solar cells, antennae and touch panels. Other possible niches are smart packaging applications and even smart clothing.

According to the research company IDTechEx, the market for conductive inks and pastes will reach 3 billion $US in 2025. Therefore, is one of the most dynamic segments within the printed electronics industry. Integrated into plastic featuring, electronic inks could probably eliminate the need for bulkier and heavier conventional switches and wires saving space and weight.

Print Hi-Tech: DuPont conductive ink

AM + Inkjet = quick and efficient process?

After making inroads into industrial printing, inkjet may finally enter the additive manufacturing market. Israel’s Xjet introduced the ‘Nano Particle Jetting” technology that builds solid metal parts without any laser beam like in selective laser sintering (SLS) or electron beam.

The system applies metal in liquid form from standard inkjet nozzles. According to the innovators, the process is both quick and precise. The liquid metal 3D printer uses a cartridge with metal dust that loads into the machine much like with a document printer. Later the printed objects go into a conventional sintering oven to produce the final part.

Avi Cohen, markets development manager for XJet, says that the final metal parts are fully dense and have no thermal distortions or residual stress associated with powder bed metal printing processes. The building process is up to five times quicker that of laser-based additive manufacturing systems with a layer thickness of under 2 microns. At RAPID 2016 in May, the massive machine was finally introduced to public.

Bonus: Made In Ukraine

Founded in 1994, Publishers’ Forum in Ukrainian Lviv (Ukrainian: Forum vydavtsiv u Lvovi) is an international book fair and the largest book-related event in Ukraine reaching its 23d edition. In 2016, the Publishers’ Forum and the 11th International Literary Festival, one of major European literary festivals, will take place on September 12–18.

Publishers, translators, entrepreneurs, journalists, printers and readers will come to Lviv, a major cultural centre for centuries. The aim is to promote reading as a means of contributing to the growth of cultural, intellectual and professional potential of the community, to meet with local and foreign authors and discuss their projects and plans.

Publishers’ Forum in Ukrainian Lviv

LaMetric gadget

Print Hi-Tech: March & April

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: the most beautiful book in the world; so long, plastic? a biodegradable algae bottle; Disney files for game-changing 3D printing patents; Red Dot Product Design Award 2016 goes to Ukraine.

A beautiful bookstore story

In March, the most beautiful book in the world was announced in Leipzig, Germany. The annual book design competition has been held since 1963. The international competition welcomes books, which were singled out by expert panels in their countries of origin.

This year judges examined about 600 books from 32 countries: Order: Fangyuan Story published by Guangxi Art won the top prize. Written by Lu Chonghua and designed by Li Jin, it tells the story of a 33-year-old private bookstore.

After graduating from the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, Lu Chonghua managed a bookstore belonging to his family. On every book order, Lu drew portraits reflecting his feelings. Four years later, he decided to make a book of those memorable portraits, and his best friend, Li Jin, agreed to design the book.

the most beautiful book in the world 2016

the most beautiful book in the world

A really biodegradable bottle

Plastic water bottles became an integral part of our “throw-away” culture. According to onegreenplanet.org, 40 billion plastic bottles end up in our landfills every year. Along with other forms of plastic that totals to 8.8 million tonnes entering the ocean.

“I read that 50 percent of plastic is used once and then thrown away so I feel there is an urgent need to find ways to replace some of the unreal amount of plastic we make, use and throw away each day,” Ari Jónsson, a product design student at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, says. “Why are we using materials that take hundreds of years to break down in nature to drink from once and then throw away?”

Ari Jónsson created a water bottle that’s made out of algae, a material that, unlike plastic, doesn’t leave a near-permanent problem behind after it’s been used. His bottle needs to contain liquid to keep its shape and as soon as it’s empty it will start to decompose. So far, the biodegradable bottle is only a conceptual piece. Jónsson admits that the biggest issue with algae as a packaging material is that it tears easily. Let’s just hope that major manufacturers will take inspiration from this invention.

A really biodegradable bottle

Disney to reinvent 3D printing?

Disney files for a series of patents that could totally change 3D printing industry. The most significant part is a system that offers a new approach to the printing process.

Instead of slowly printing layer by layer, the stereolithography-based system blasts a volumetric image into a print chamber filled with liquid polymer. The light creates a mirror image in the polymer, which reacts to the light and cures effectively. The newly formed object can be picked out of the chamber as the rest of the polymer remains uncured.

The replicator is designed to work with plastics and is meant for mass production of Disney merchandise. Actually, it can be turned into a reliable method for other materials, and then it will be a quantum leap for the whole industry.

Disney 3D printing patent

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

LaMetric gadget created by Smart Atoms startup based in Ukrainian Lviv was awarded the Red Dot Product Design Award 2016.

A multifunctional LED display, LaMetric displays time and useful info including social networks notifications, e-mails, weather forecasts by synchronising with applications like Google Calendar, CrossFit, Apple Store, IFTTT etc. Nazar Bilous, CEO of Smart Atoms, said that the startup intends to increase sales of La Metric Time online and to access premium off-line networks.

LaMetric isn’t the first Ukrainian project with the Red Dot Award. Last year, the prize was awarded to Catherine Sokolova from Kharkiv and her portable AeroTwist speakers, a joint project with Jarre Technologies.

LaMetric gadget created by Ukrainian Smart Atoms

World as Organism 3D

Print Hi-Tech: January & February

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: Pantone’s top 10 colors for spring to make us a little happier; plastic packaging made from thin air; the World-as-Organism 3D philosophy discussed in Davos; interactive 21st-century books created in Ukraine.

Pantone’s Top 10 Colors: Spring 2016

Pantone’s top colors for spring are meant to make us a little happier. Interestingy, this is clearly a unisex palette: spring and summer colors transcend cultural and gender norms.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute: “Influenced by the world of art, new global doors opening, and the desire to disconnect from technology and unwind, designers this season have gravitated toward a palette that is first and foremost calming.”

Number-one color for women and men is soothing Rose Quartz. “A persuasive yet gentle tone” radiates compassion and a sense of composure during the busy but lighthearted spring and summer months.

More vibrant colors can be attributed to consumers’ appreciation for nature’s influence in urban design continuing to inspire designers. Among other top colors are Peach Echo, Serenity, Limpet Shell, Lilac Gray and Iced Coffee.

pantone-colors-2016-spring-summer

Plastic packaging made from thin air

Eco-conscious consumers are interested in packaging that is recyclable, renewable or made from sustainable resources. According to European Bioplastics, the market for bioplastics will increase from around 1.6 million tons in 2013 to approximately 6.7 million tons in 2018.

After more than 10 years of research and development, Newlight Technologies, a California-based company, found a way to convert methane-based greenhouse gas emissions into AirCarbon material.

According to the company, cost-efficient AirCarbon matches the performance of petroleum-based plastics. It can be used in extrusion, blown film, cast film, thermoforming, fiber spinning, and injection molding processes. Newlight is currently working with more than 60 companies, making all sorts of products, from cell phone cases, to plastic chairs, to bottle caps.

AirCarbon plastic

The World-as-Organism: 3D printing at Davos Conference

When describing the impact of 3D printing, the phrase “Industry 4.0” is widely used now. The term embraces a number of contemporary automation, data exchange, and manufacturing technologies.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Neri Oxman, an architect and designer, introduced the World-as-Organism 3D philosophy, which is meant to supersede the World as Machine. “Novel technologies emerging from the Digital Age are enabling engineering and production at Mother Nature’s quantum scale, ushering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: the Biological Age”, her essay says.

The design is no longer constrained by traditional manufacturing technologies. From now on, designers are introduced to ‘Material Ecology’. Computational design, digital fabrication, synthetic biology, the environment, and the material itself become inseparable and harmonized dimensions of design. And that could mean a new age, where products and structures will be able to grow and adapt.

Made in Ukraine: Interactive Books from Gutenbergz

In 2011, Gutenbergz digital publishing project was created in Ukrainian Odessa. Its founder and CEO Volodymyr Usov decided to offer a different concept of storytelling for international readers.

Its first release, Sherlock Holmes, appeared in AppStore in December 2012 and became a top app in China and the U.S. In 2013, Gutenbergz successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Gadgetarium project: a printed version bundled with augmented reality elements and an interactive book app for mobile devices. The immersive story features 23 of the world’s greatest gadgets, from the wheel and up to Google Glass, and comes with 54 fully interactive pages.

In 2014, Gutenbergz together with UNESCO created an interactive version of Blood and Hope by Samuel Pesaro. “For us, the augmented reality, as well as other technologies, is primarily a tool for creating fascinating stories. With the help of technology, we are trying to increase the person involvement in the process of interaction with the content,” says Volodymyr Usov.

Pop-up paper books

Print Hi-Tech: December

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: subtle pop-up worlds of Katsumi Komagata; VR experience out of a pizza box; 3D printed latte; DROTR Calls&Chat app with automatic translation support.

Subtle pop-up worlds made of paper

Katsumi Komagata, a book artist from Japan, started as a graphic designer developing packaging. Now he is best known for his innovative pop-up books. He has won numerous honours, including the Prize for Creativity (Paris), a New Art Prize at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, an International Children’s Book Award (Switzerland).

In 2008, Komagata released Little Tree, an existential story tracing the life-cycle of a single tree told in Japanese, French, and English. A beautiful allegory, it ends with a seed that spurs a new cycle of life, sending it all back to the beginning.

Simple as they are, the pop-up paper books by Katsumi Komagata are colorful and full of life. He has also created picture books for children with disabilities, including tactile and sign-language books.

Subtle pop-up worlds made of paper

Virtual hi-tech… with cardboard

When Google announced a DIY virtual reality kit made of cardboard last summer, people asked if it was a joke. Offered as part of Google’s annual giveaway, the device was a low-cost crowdsourced toolkit anyone could build to run basic VR experiences.

Actually, it’s a housing for a smartphone made from cardboard. You also get a lens kit, magnets, velcros, a rubber band, and an easily programmable sticker tag for automatic launch of the mobile app. A low-key yet completely usable headset is good enough for a revelatory VR experience. You can even cut your own cardboard housing out of a pizza box.

Advertisers are paying close attention to the prospects for Google Cardboard. In November 2015, The New York Times made a step into virtual reality with Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer. The Times used a promotion to deliver 1.2 million kits to home-delivery subscribers for watching “The Displaced,” its first film in a virtual-reality series telling about three refugee children growing up in Lebanon, South Sudan, and Ukraine.

Google Cardboard for NYT

Taking latte art to a whole new level

Innovations in 3D technologies are going to change our lives in a number of ways. But waiting for your life to change, you can still enjoy your coffee! Would you like it 3D printed?

In just seconds, the Ripple Maker transfers any image or text from a digital library on the coffee foam. A small (21 х 27 х 50 cm) Wi-Fi connected device supports customized designs as well which makes it an innovative promotion tool. Moreover, the device remembers birthdays and anniversaries.

“We are excited to unveil the Ripple Maker and proud to announce Lufthansa as our first global brand,” said Yossi Meshulam, CEO of Steam CC, parent of Ripples. “Our mission is to add meaning, depth and joy to the coffee experience, cup by cup.  And this aligns so beautifully with Lufthansa’s commitment to ‘Nonstop You’.”

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

DROTR Calls&Chat is a new VoIP technology service announced a couple of years ago as Droid Translator. The app was developed by Ukrainian software engineer Oleksandr Konovalov. Unlike Skype and Viber, it can automatically translate voice and text messages into 30 languages.

The new service includes a built-in video call with interpretation, a voice call with interpretation and a chat with translation. According to Konovalov, live interpretation of each phrase in Skype may take up to 45 seconds. As of today, the service is available for Android devices. The iOS version is currently being tested by Apple.

The basic application is free to download. The full version supports conversation recording and stores transcripts into a separate file.

Print Hi-Tech: November 2015

Print Hi-Tech: November

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: Amazon goes brick-and-mortar; amazing paper sculptures born in Canada; Local Motors makes its first 3D printed car; nursery rhymes and kid songs created in Ukraine for English-speaking audience.

Amazon: combining online and physical worlds

After twenty years of selling books online, Amazon opened a ‘traditional’ shopping centre  in Seattle’s University Village, with printed books on real shelves. Jennifer Cast, Vice President of Amazon Books, stated that the store is meant to be an extension of their website, and a place where customers can try out their Kindles and Fire Tablets. It could be the beginning of a whole new era in online business – big data as a supplement to human insight, not a substitute for it, writes the Forbes magazine.

It is clear that Amazon relies heavily on its data. But what else is the company planning? According to the Seattle Times, Amazon says the store won’t be stocked solely on data. “It’s data with heart,” said Jennifer Cast. “We’re taking the data we have and we’re creating physical places with it.”

Some of that data include reviews from the millions of Amazon customers. Below each book on the shelf is a card with either a review or a rating from the site. The company also has offered a corporate favorites section that will be updated. In November, the section included a few of Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’ favorite titles. Some of them are “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, and “Traps” by his wife, MacKenzie Bezos.

Amazon goes brick-and-mortar

Paper Sculptures from Calvin Nicholls

Canadian paper sculpture artist Calvin Nicholls creates awesome low relief reproductions. An extremely detailed piece can take from a few weeks up to two years depending on scale and complexity.

For those who would like to try and make their own pictures capturing all of the shapes and shadows, the artist gives a number of recommendations. Cuts are made with scalpels and x-acto knives on a plastic cutting mat or cutting board. Small scissors can work if you go slow and cut in very smooth motions. Use a very small amount of glue on a toothpick. Attach the pieces starting at the tip of the tail and work up – just like shingles on a roof.

Have fun developing your own style. Maybe you could even make your own snow-white greeting card — just in time for Christmas!

Paper Sculptures from Calvin Nicholls

3D Printed Cars Made a Reality

American Local Motors founded by Jay Rogers and best known for its $100,000 off-road Rally Fighter crowdsourced vehicle announced one more innovation. Its new LM3D Swim road-ready vehicle is 3D printed and crafted using a design sourced from the creative community.

According to Jay Rogers, they hope that cars may really become “safe, smart, and sustainable.” To turn an aesthetic crowdsourced concept model into a functional automobile, Local Motors’ product development team relied on the so-called synchronous design based on Siemens’ Solid Edge software.

The LM3D will likely be shipped in 2017 as both a highway-ready model and as a low-speed electric vehicle. The announced price tag is $53k for a car. Partnering with IBM and other tech companies, Local Motors is going to implement new technology with every new car off the line. Jay Rogers is sure that this will make the cars smarter and safer.

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

Recently, an animation studio from Ukrainian Lviv created a new 3D animation project for English speakers. After one and a half months, Dave and Ava YouTube channel with animated nursery rhymes and baby songs has got more than 15 million views in North America.

The smartphone app will be ready to download soon. The team is working hard to make their animations available on iOS and Android devices, so you can enjoy Dave and Ava Nursery Rhymes offline.

The 100% Ukrainian project, from ideas to music to 3D animators and actors, is funded by local investors.

Rich media MOO Cards

Print Hi-Tech: October

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: testing your eye for colour with a free iPhone game; paper business cards with embedded chips from MOO; 3D printed device for getting drinking water; new online gang printing services.

Specimen for iPhone: make fun getting colours right

Most online applications for testing colour perception (like the Munsell Color system) are a bit tiresome. Try Specimen, a free-to-play iPhone game by Sal Randazzo, Erica Gorochow and Charlie Whitney, to add fun to colour tests.

According to its authors, the game appeared as a kind of diagnostic test with a timer. Colourful amebas floating in a petri dish should be matched across the background colours. And quickly!

You’ll be going through levels with more and more difficulty, which are all unlike. The engine randomises amebas’ hue, saturation, and colour value. “We found there was a human perceptual limit that we had to guard for, but I’d say in later levels we get pretty close to that line,” Gorochow notes.

Rich media MOO Cards: paper plus digital

MOO Business Cards+ connects paper business cards and digital technologies with the help of an embedded NFC (Near Field Communication) chip.

Adding new dimension to a traditional product, the chip is able to perform various actions—just tap a MOO card to an NFC-enabled smartphone. Actions are assigned via the Manage paper+ platform: you can link your card to a website or connect it to your social profile. An action can be an application download, a call, a message or saving contact details.

MOO has already announced partnerships with Spotify, LinkedIn, Appear.in and Citymapper for programmable actions, and users can also make their own actions outside the MOO platform by using IFTTT.

3D printed steam turbine: a low-cost way to treat salty water?

GE scientists Doug Hofer and Vitali Lissianski are creating a 3D printed device that could make drinking sea water possible. To implement their idea, they chose steam engine turbine principle. “‘In traditional steam turbines, steam condenses and turns to water,” Hofer explains. “We thought maybe the same principle could be applied to water desalination.”

The turbine is meant to freeze sea water separating the salt in solid form from clean ice. Then the ice can be melt to get drinking water. “Freezing seawater to treat it is nothing new, but the way we are doing it is very different. We’re tapping into our wealth of technical knowledge in turbomachinery to devise a cost-effective solution.” said Vitali Lissianski. A handheld 3D device could reduce desalination costs by up to 20 percent.

Supplies of clean drinking water continue to decrease. 97.5 percent of the global water is in salty oceans unsuitable for consumption, while a fifth of the planet is in dire need of fresh water.

3D printed steam turbine: a low-cost way to treat salty water?

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

Flyer.center, an American startup project for B2B and B2C segments co-owned by Ivan Dubrovin and Konstantin Puppo from Ukraine, attracted more than $1 million in combined investments. A gang printing service for American market uses upload2print technology with full process automation, from job upload to final output.

The startup is based on printonline.tech e-commerce platform provided by Tisk na Spletu, a Slovenian software company developing online solutions for the print industry. Earlier this year, the developers have successfully launched a similar druq.eu platform aimed at the European market.

According to Ivan Dubrovin, the main competitive advantage of gang-run print services is distributed printing. The print service provider just reallocates job flows while the printer can be located anywhere (the closer the better still as the distance affects costs and terms).

gang printing services

Komubook croud publishing platform

Print Hi-Tech: September

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: ‘The Drinkable Book’ that purifies water; a beer bottle turned into interactive canvas; 3D food printing for luxury dining; the first Ukrainian croud-publishing platform.

The Drinkable Book

Thousands of people still don’t have access to safe, clean water to drink. Finally, scientists have developed a special paper for water purification, which they hope will help people to solve this problem.

The pages of ‘The Drinkable Book‘ can be used to filter out the dirt from water. Each page contains special ingredients—silver and copper—to remove the germs that could make people unwell. To use the book, you need only to place the page inside a simple filter holder and then pour the dirty water into it. Tips printed on each page educate people about importance of drinking safe water.

The book’s been tried out in Africa and in Bangladesh, and people are really pleased with the results. Each sheet can be used up to 100 times. One book will do for a person’s water supply for up to four years.

The Drinkable Book

Scratchbottle: Instant customer engagement

The German beer brand Beck’s developed an interactive packaging. The company turned the bottle into a canvas in its latest advertising campaign to make its product more appealing to a younger, party loving audience.

For now, the scratch bottle remains a “dummy” for internal purposes. According to Beck’s, there are no plans to mass produce the scratch bottle. Still the packaging is intriguing because it creates instant customer engagement with the product. Humour, another key to successful marketing, is also present.

The campaign doesn’t imply cultural context, since Beck’s beer is sold in 90 countries. And it may be one of the reasons behind strong social media buzz it created.

3D Printing: Is it viable for fine dining?

Forbes published a 4-part series examining how the future of luxury dining would be affected by 3D printing making its first strides into the food industry. At the 3D Printshow 2015 in London, Michelin-starred Chef Mateo Blanch from La Boscana, Spain creating the first 3D printed, 5-course meal attracting many attendees.

The menu included a starter snack of caviar cookies with lemon and strawberries, hummus and a dish of guacamole. The main course was a Framed octopus and a Caprese pasta with basilicum and pestofolowed by a strawberry and jelly carpaccio, and a dessert featuring the word “London” printed in chocolate. According to Blanch, the technology has made him “capable of a level of precision that would have never been possible before.”

Still, there are few other reports on Michelin-starred chefs adopting the technology. The reason 3D food printing is particularly challenging is that you often have to mix more than one material to create a conceivably good dish. But today it is relatively difficult. What’s more, 3D food printers are generally expensive. The better models such as 3D Systems’ Sugar ChefJet would cost $5,000 to $10,000.

3D printing for luxury food

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

Recently, the first croud-publishing platform called Komubook was launched in Ukraine. Introducing the concept of crowdfunding to the publishing world, the closely-curated platform will work with famous books and authors not translated into Ukrainian yet.

The platform model is quite simple. You can choose and pre-order any of proposed books (currently, these are Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, A Scanner Darkly, Junkie, and Mrs Dalloway). As soon as funds are acquired, the book is published and sent to people who have invested in the project.

In fact, crowdfunding isn’t anything new. Unbound author Paul Kingsnorth describes, “The idea of funding books by subscriptions is actually something that was very popular in the 18th century. We’re really going back to a time before we had big, central publishers who were able to give writers big advances, and using the web to attract readers to a project.”

Komubookthe croud-publishing platform

Olivier Poujol portraits

Print Hi-Tech: August

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: the world’s oldest multicolored printed book; collages and portraits created from packaging tape; a completely 3D printed fashion collection; 3D Print Conference returns to Kyiv.

The Oldest Multicolored Printed Book

The world’s oldest multicolor book printed in China is now digitized and available at Cambridge University Library’s site. The 17th century manual presenting examples of calligraphy and painting (Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu) is so fragile that it was previously forbidden to be opened.

Created in 1633, the book is the earliest known example of polychrome xylography, when several printing blocks are applied in succession with different inks to achieve the appearance of a hand-painted watercolor.

The manual contains eight categories showcasing birds, plumbs, orchids, bamboos, fruit, stones, ink drawings and miscellany.

The Oldest Multicolored Printed Book

Image courtesy: Cambridge University Library

Portraits from Packaging Tapes

Olivier Poujol, a French artist living in Marocco since 2011, uses packaging tape to create stunning collages and portraits.

When Olivier arrived to Morocco, he was struck by its beauty, culture… and piles of cardboard boxes with packing adhesives. Soon he discovered that Moroccans reuse almost everything. So, Olivier began turning these waste items into true works of art creating his collages from several layers of scotch in a table.

“Tones, colors, shapes and emotions I create from such simple material like the packing tape, never stop to surprise me,” Olivier says.

Portraits from Packaging Tapes

3D Printing Clothes at Home

Digital сouture takes fashion in new directions. After the acceptance of sublimation printers, designers are slowly adopting 3D printing, usually for accessories or clothes parts.

Israeli fashion student Danit Peleg created a completely 3D printed fashion collection using desktop 3D printers installed at her home. When she first embarked on her 3D printing project, she knew absolutely nothing about the technology.

The collection was designed over a nine month period, with 3D printers running for about 2,000 hours. The results of this project are presented in the clip below.

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

On September 10, 3D Print Conference returned to Kyiv for the second time. For now, it’s the largest Ukrainian event covering 3D printing and 3D scanning technologies.

The conference featured a full day of workshops and presentations plus an exhibition where manufacturers, distributors, and 3D printing service providers demonstrated their technologies and solutions. Session topics explored latest technologies, trends, and business applications, as well as the best strategies and tip for users of 3D printers.

A detailed post on the conference and presentations can be found here.

3D Print Conference Kyiv

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Photos by: 3dprintconf.com.ua