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

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

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