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.
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.
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.
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.