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 Print Conference Kyiv, 2016

3D Print Conference Kyiv, 2016

Highlights from the event

Staying on track with my professional development, I visited the 3D Print Conference (Kyiv, Ukraine, September 16).

Last time I came to a local 3D Print Confrerence conference was a year ago. And I should say that by now I have learnt a lot more about the technologies, innovations and trends (thanks, the University of Illinois!). So, Ukrainian projects, start-ups and the local market were of main interest for me.

Once more, the venue consisted of four main zones. Apart from the exhibition, there was a 3D printing and 3D scanning workshop. The conference hall hosted the presentations, and my child spent time in the kids’ workshop zone.

The organisers assure that the third Conference welcomed more guests and exhibiting companies. But it seems to me that by now it somewhat lacks the level and drive it deserves. I hope we will see alternatives and new formats offered by Ukrainian and European expo companies.

This year, the presentation program included 10 talks with some last-minute changes. Some of them were quite inspiring.

3D Printing for Development in Ukraine

Brennan Purtzer, the Founder of Blue Continent Eco-Trade Alliance, is currently volunteering for the US Peace Corps in Ivano-Frankivsk, Western Ukraine.

To his opinion, 3D printing for development can have a much more important impact on society that creating art or jewellery pieces. 3D technologies are already being used for the development of Africa, Philippines, Pakistan, etc.

Brennan relies on his experiences with Micronesia, one of the most isolated regions. The supply chain there is long, slow, and expensive. And the national GPD depends on import to a great extent.

Brennan Purtzer 3D Printing for Development of Ukraine

Here 3D printing could shorten the supply chain offering limited on-island production. Among other benefit are better-paying jobs, technical training, better import and export balance. Moreover, the reduced shipping volume means positive environmental impact. With 3D printing, small communities can use recycled plastics to build new items they need.

According to Brennan Purtzer, the same process could be used in Ukraine. But the best solutions for Ukraine are the ones we have yet to invent to solve specific, local issues.

Brennan is planning to open a 3D print learning centre in Kalush near Ivano-Frankivsk. A nation-wide network might follow later.

Printed houses: autonomous and self-learning

Maxim Gerbut, founder and CEO of Ukrainian PassivDom, presented an interesting concept of a printed modular PassivHause.

The startup claims to have created the world’s warmest passive houses. The structure is carbon and glass fibre combined with patented warm windows. An extremely low heat loss makes self-sufficiency easy and cost-effective to implement.

PassivDom. 3D Print Conference Kyiv, 2016

Basic structures, including walls, roofing, and basement platform, are produced with 3D printing by “7D” robotic arms. The dimensions of a basic transportable PassivDom module are 4 m x 9 m (12 tonnes). If case you need a larger building, you are free to combine two modules.

Unlike concrete 3D printing, the original houses are promising full off-grid autonomy. It seems like you do not need any traditional heating system even for cold regions. The thermal characteristics allow using 20 times less energy than usual. Obviously, they outperform the new energy efficiency standards that come into effect in 2030 in the USA and Europe.


The modular houses use solar panels and batteries to produce energy and store it. Even with heavy clouding, the energy supply is enough to keep self-efficiency for up to two weeks. All house appliances are integrated into the Internet of Things. A self-learning system monitors the quality of air inside. Actually, you can control the house from anywhere with the help of your smartphone.

Made in Ukraine: high-quality 3D printing filament

Oleg Kireev, a representative of Extrusion in Motion, told about methods of quality control and testing of ABS and PLA filaments.

A pioneer Ukrainian manufacturer of 3D filament produces excellent-quality materials for 3D printers. Launched in 2016, the manufacturing site is equipped with advanced quality measurement systems and production lines. For their 3D filament, the company exports 100% fresh raw materials from North America.

EIM has already tested its 3D filament in German laboratories. The results were good enough to launch the export of the product made in Ukraine to the market of Germany. Currently, EIM is undergoing certification procedures to comply with the TÜV and European RoHS directive 2002/95/EC.

The R&D department continues to develop new materials in close cooperation with leading suppliers of 3D printers and 3D scanners. Wood, metal, carbon filaments, Flex, and rubber are currently at work. ‘Run by engineers for engineers’, EIM is also planning to offer 3D printing and 3D scanning services, measurement systems, industrial 3D printing technologies, and recycling.

Extrusin in Motion. 3D Print Conference Kyiv, 2016

* * *

Just after the 3D Print Conference in Kyiv, Kwambio announced the launch of its first European 3D printing factory based in Ukraine. The company is ready to compete with Materialise and Shapeways using its own ceramic powder (80 colours!).

“Our goal is to offer high-quality products at affordable prices. Thanks to our incredible team and a perfect eco-friendly location in Ukraine, Kwambio cuts prices and lead time in half,” said Vlad Usov, CEO and co-founder of Kwambio.

Kwambio processes online and third-party orders accepting all kinds of sketches. Your product will be ready from scratch in just two weeks. The price is $0.07 for one cubic centimetre.

Kwambio 3D printing factory

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.


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.

3D Printing Shifting the Balance of Power

3D Printing: Shifting the Balance of Power

5 disruptions that can change global economy and society

Recently, I took a Coursera course on marketing in a digital world as a part of my CPD plan. Many ideas and start-ups presented there were completely new to me and looked fascinating.

The course also covered the role of 3D printing in disrupting current marketing models, as 3D printers are a good example of a new digital marketing tool.

Companies like Apple, Netflix, Google create both new products and new business models. Their disruptive innovation is radically changing traditional business practices. New emerging digital tools also have tremendous implications the way products are distributed and placed into the market.

Firm-centered approach to marketing is starting to break down due to the rise of smartphones, online technologies, and 3D printing. In this new digital marketing environment, we are moving from firm-created products and brands to co-created products and brands.

Blurring the dividing line between the physical and the digital, 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, has been around for over 30 years. However, in the last five years both the size of the printers as well as their cost have dramatically shrunk. As a result, the technology is rapidly spreading and becoming democratized and available to consumers.

A wide variety of materials that can be 3D printed includes plastics, metals, ceramics, food, and even glass, depending on the printer type and technology. Experts say you can 3D print almost any hard material that can be softened or any soft material that can be hardened.

3D printing is a way to a new industrial revolution and dramatic changes in the economy. It may spread over the entire value chain on a global scale, from operation, logistics, manufacturing to marketing, sales, and after-services. Some of you may already own or actually use 3D printed products without knowing it.

I decided to summarize things I love most about 3D printing, one of my main translation specialties. Below is a short description of five transformations you should begin preparing for. 3D printing is going to change your life, too.

1 New manufacturing strategies

As of 2011, the direct manufacture of finished products represented only about 25 percent of the additive manufacturing market. 3D printers were used mainly for prototyping. Now industries are moving from prototyping to the actual printing of final finished products.

With current 35 percent annual growth rate, the market of additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping is one the manufacturing industry’s fastest-growing segments. 3D printing facilitates new product solutions, which would be inconceivable with conventional methods.

Today the aerospace industry (12.0% of global AMRP market), the automotive industry (19.5%), medical/dental technology (15.1%), and other sectors focus strategically on 3D printing as the manufacturing strategy of the future and an embodiment of “Industry 4.0” approach.

Airbus A350 is flying with 3D printed parts. GE has already opened a mass additive manufacturing facility to produce the fuel nozzles for LEAP jet engines. American Local Motors best known for its $100,000 off-road Rally Fighter crowdsourced vehicle recently introduced the world’s first 3D printed car. German Mapal offers a QTD-series insert drills manufactured using additive laser melting.

3D Prnting_New technologies

2 New designs and mass customization

3D printing is changing the way things are developed and designed. This paradigm shift means that lightweight designs, new integrated functions or bionic structural elements will become a crucial part of engineering.

Additive solutions offer diverse potential, which you cannot achieve (at least satisfactorily) with conventional machining strategies. Two directions are possible here. One is to redesign existing products, which have been built conventionally until now. The second is to manufacture new products developed specifically for the opportunities that 3D printing offers as early as the design phase.

B2C manufacturers and retailers are beginning to realize the potential of 3D printing. Nike is now 3D printing its football shoes. Designers say 3D printing going to change the world of fashion in a way similar to how Lycra entered the fashion industry in the ’80s, radically evolving how clothes were made and how garments behave.

With 3D printing, consumers can customize their designs. Once you start thinking digital products rather than physical ones, new possibilities emerge. Unlike conventional goods that are difficult and expensive to customize, digital products are much cheaper and easier to change. Digitization of goods opens a way to satisfy a broader range of customer preferences.

3D Printing_New Designs

3 New distribution models and shifted profits

3D printers can alter distribution models just as the Internet has altered music, text, and video consumption. Just like iTunes replaced physical music stores, the 3D printer has the potential to disrupt logistics and sells of physical goods.

All 3D printed objects start with a digital model. And once an object is digital, it can be easily stored, transported, and modified. Decentralized production networks mean new business models and regional strategies are possible. The company can post digital files of its products or parts of its products on its website for direct downloading (like Nokia tried) or posting these files on a digital 3D printing retailer.

To be able to print locally will save shipping costs and shipping time. For some industries, that means huge competitive advantages. Spare parts can be manufactured on demand at decentralized locations. If a component fails, it will be reproduced directly on-site.

Pioneers of additive manufacturing underline the possibility to return the value created by production from low-wage countries to traditional development and industrial locations in Europe or the USA.

3D Printing_New Distribution Models

4 Medical innovations and bioprinting

3D printing is making rapid progress in the medical and dental fields. Today, most hearing aids and dental implants are 3D printed in the US. 3D printing has enabled the creation of high-dose pills: you can customize and control the speed and strength of delivered dosage reliably.

Companies are inventing new business models, opening digital print centers for additive dental prostheses. Compared to traditional dental laboratories, digital manufacturing is extremely cost-efficient (at least half the price) and offer enormous benefits in terms of quality. 3D printing is also being used to create affordable prosthetics, light and durable.

Bone reconstruction technologies with the help of three-dimensional structures are being developed. Such structures are open for the tuning of chemical and mechanical properties while copying the outer form of the required bone.

A number of startups are actually exploring 3D printing as a way to create human skin and organs. We are not so close to a mass replacement of body parts yet, but a company called Organovo is already 3D printing liver and kidney tissues.

3D Printing _Bioprinting

5 Power of making democratized with 3D printing

During the course, some academic insights about the topic of 3D printing were mentioned. Researchers at Michigan Tech University conducted an interesting experiment published in Metronics journal in 2013. In order to determine how much money 3D printing could save, they printed common household objects instead of buying them.

They downloaded twenty digital designs from and printed them on a low-cost desktop 3D printer: an iPhone doc, a showerhead, a paper towel holder, etc. The printing cost in terms of both energy and materials was less than $20. In comparison, it would have cost them at least $300 to buy them from a store.

The study at the University of Illinois showed a stark difference between groups making common 3D printed objects and buying them from the shop. Students who printed objects exhibited higher levels of loyalty, they felt a closer connection with these objects and were willing to pay almost 50% more for them.

Desktop 3D printers are going to democratize the power of making and to give consumers more control over the things they consume.

3D Printing_Power of making democratized

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, 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, 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 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 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

3D Print Conference in Kyiv

3D Print Conference in Kyiv

Highlights from the event

After waiting for quite some time for an interesting industry event related to digital technologies and printing, I finally managed to do it — I’ve attended the 3D Print Conference in Kyiv, held on September, 10th.

Needless to say, it was exciting. Everyone who had a chance to learn more about advanced technologies and innovations knows how inspiring they can be.

The event hosted several zones: an exhibition where technology dealers and service providers presented hardware, software, and printed samples; workshops for everyone interested in hands-on aspects of 3D printing and 3D scanning; a conference hall for presentations; a 3D+Robo Kids zone where the youngest attendees studied the basics of 3D modeling and robo design.

Conference speakers unveiled their personal business stories, experience, and knowledge in order to teach, motivate and engage their audience. The interest was strongly backed by the 4x annual growth of the 3D print market in Ukraine, according to Mares Shamzhi, the conference manager.

The presentation program included 12 talks divided into 3 sessions. Here are few of the things said that, to my opinion, were really inspiring and motivating:

* * *

Darya Kireeva from Materialise, a Belgium-based company that has been playing a large role in additive manufacturing for the past 25 years, was the first to describe the current state and emerging trends in 3D printing technologies.

From selective laser sintering (SLS), its widest range of materials covering wood and titan, to stereolithography (SLA) offering largest models and supporting transparent resin, to fused deposition modeling (FDM), the most well-known and popular 3D printing method, every technology has its certain limitations and strong points taken into account when you choose a 3D system for your project.

The presentation covered interesting case studies and models currently manufactured by Materialise from different materials. Among them, Darya mentioned a mind-blowing Spider Dress 2.0 equipped with an Intel Edison chip that reads biosignals to defend the wearer’s personal space.

spider dress materialise

Additional questions showed that people are not yet fully aware of functional potential available with new technologies. Somebody asked what it would cost to produce an Ikea-like lamp using 3D printing.

Obviously, the lamp will be unique. This approach, however, fails to exploit the inherent advantages of the process not limited to ‘one of its kind.’ To take full advantage of additive manufacturing, you need to rethink production design making it more cost-effective and enhancing performance parameters. The new geometric freedom is another unique advantage of 3D printing.

* * *

The largest 3D printers installed at Materialise can produce components 2 meters in height. But if you need an entry-level home 3D printer you can as well make your own customized system. Alexander Novakovskyy from 3DP company says a 3D printer cobbled together from whatever parts you can find may cost you only $500 if you know where to buy the components. From choosing a RepRap or RepStrap strategy for your 3D printer to finding the best-suited print head, every step is achievable. But get ready to be on short terms with G-code, an ‘official language’ of 3D printers.

3D Print Conference in Kyiv

* * *

Eugene Kozhukhovskyy, Managing Partner of SmartPrint, thinks that Ukraine has a good global market potential for 3D printing with the SMB sector entering massive technology adaptation.

For Ukraine and former CIS countries, spare parts are the most demanded 3D components now. But your customers may be located globally if you find the right way to reach out to them.

According to Kozhukhovskyy, an average price claimed by print services providers at 3D Hubs (local 3D printing services and 3D printing) is 0.98 euro per 1 gram for Europe and only 0.19 euro per 1 gram for Ukraine.

At present, twenty 3D printers are available in Kyiv via 3D Hubs service (30 in Ukraine). However, if you plan to enter the segment, do not sell you services but rather try to solve your clients’ problems, he says.

In September, SmartPrint initiated a charity project offering free 3D printed prosthetics for children without arms and/or hands. The feedback shows that the interest is huge, so the company is open for charity cooperation with other 3D print service providers.

Charity Project 3D printing

* * *

Medical startup ARanEd founded by Andrey Maranov, a medical student from Kyiv, suggests a holistic approach to human skeleton research using 3D printing and augmented reality.

Project participants scan human bones to make accurate 3D printed copies as real human samples are prohibited for medical students now. They claim that their representations are attractively priced and their quality meets strict demands of both students and doctors (the skeleton will cost you about $400).

Maranov’s second project is a mobile application to scan and to visualize the real structure of human body with the help of AU technologies.

In 2015, the startup has already become a winner of PioneersKyiv festival, a part of Europe’s major startup and investor conference, and was presented successfully at Thiel Summit in Saint Francisco, June 2015.

* * *

Alexander Nam, Head of Software & Hardware Development at EnvisionTEC, told about 3D printing of scaffolds for bioengineering enabling the production of functional living implants out of cells obtained from cell culture.

In contrast to conventional rapid prototyping systems, mainly focused on melt processing, the 3D-Bioplotter by EnvisionTEC can apply a much larger variety of synthetic as well as natural materials, including aqueous solutions and pastes, to fabricate scaffolds for tissue engineering.

Today, dental clinics and laboratories are already facing a digital upheaval. Bone reconstruction technologies with the help of three-dimensional structures are being developed. The next step will be organ transplantation.

Only in the US, an average of 22 people dies each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs. The gap between the demand and available organs continues to widen. 3D printed kidneys could potentially save thousands of lives.

It’s still a long way to fully functional tissue engineering. According to Alexander, one may expect a 3D printed liver in about 15 years and a 3D printed heart in 25 years.

Alexander Nam, 3D Print Conference in Kyiv

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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