Tag Archive: future technology

Every new technological creation seems to eventually arrive at a point where you can buy it at 99 percent off its original price.  It’s the classic 99% off sale.  And while it’s not true for everything, we can see it in many ways across the decades.  Look at something like the simple calculator, once a giant machine costing thousands of dollars, ultimately it came down in price (and size) to fit in your wallet as a free giveaway as businesses all over stamped an advertisement on the back as a marketing tool.  Today it’s a free feature on nearly every personal computer and android phone.  In the 1990s Connie Willis focused on the emerging technology of animating dead people in films in her groundbreaking novel Remake (discussed here at borg back in 2012).  It happened and it’s only getting better.  As recently as December Star Wars fans saw Mark Hamill reprise a young Luke Skywalker via imaging software in The Mandalorian, and probably the best use so far can be found by the de-aging of Michael Douglas in the Ant-Man movies. 

In basements (and governments?) across the world software designers and users dabble in “deep fake” imaging, attempting to push this technology to defraud (or prevent the defrauding of) others by digitally replacing faces in all kinds of video recordings.  Imagine making such video images by uploading a static image and simply pressing a button.  Guess what?  Now anyone can.  Look to an unlikely source to visit the future, thanks to a genealogy company’s new software program that costs its subscribers… nothing.  Quietly slipping in its own add-on free to its pay subscribers, a surprisingly good “artificial intelligence” turns any photograph into a short animation.  Yes, you, too, can re-animate the dead, maybe not as Mary Shelley envisioned more than 200 years ago, but take a look for yourself…

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Yesterday in Vancouver, BC, and Kansas City, MO, the annual Maker Faire began–two days of creating, building, thinking, and making began with robotics, alternative energy, and do-it-yourself projects.

You could speak with individuals who have built a hydrogen based car (using a 1920s Ford as their prototype), create paper projects and take them home, learn to solder, check out new styles of cloth dying and even buy the artistic clothing on display, learn about the printmaking process that dates back to Gutenburg and have a print made from wood cut to final print, or join the local costuming guild.

And you could watch the latest in robotic designs–not by high tech industry, but the guys at home in their garages and basements coming up with the next robotic design.  Of course the crowds can’t get enough of robot wars–nothing like a spider-like robot barraging rubber pellets at a bipedal, crouching, Erector set-looking opponent.  And it’s a good mix of both adults and kids making this stuff.  You could also check out the latest scratchbuilt designs of Estes-type model rocketry.

It’s all about getting hands on and just doing it–the act of creating or making–and sharing the results.

My favorite part of the faire was contrasting what 3D modelers from Hallmark Cards were doing in their international business with what the guys on the other side of the hall were doing in a more grassroots way.  Two designer/engineers from Hallmark demonstrated the process for making none other than Hallmark Holiday ornaments using software imaging programs and images of the giant 3D printer that transfers the idea to reality.  But on a smaller scale a few other exhibitors were showing how they could turn plastic cord into plastic 3D parts via their own scratchbuilt units, demonstrating the process in the exhibit hall on the tabletop.  And their use?   Today it was to make even more “3D printers” to sell to the public.  The exhibitor from TechZone Communications said that after the last fair in Southern California he was building and selling 3D printers for the public non-stop.  How do the printers work?  They take a signal of a drawn design from your laptop and pull a plastic cord through a print engine that, through hundreds of repetitive movements, results in a solid structure.  And the objects could range in size from an eighth of an inch high to 12 inches high and equal distance across.

So not only is the art of 3D printing what big companies are doing to make mass produced items, the technology is available to you in your own home.  Today.  What you make is up to you.  A less hands-on way to make resin movie props perhaps?  TechZone had kits for sale from $600 to $1100–the price a good laptop would cost you.  Check out their website here.

C.J. Bunce



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