Archive for 3d printer

Foodback

Posted in Conceptual Art, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2012 by javedbabar

“I love Indian cooking,” said Sophie, “and you love 3D printing…”

“I wouldn’t say love,” said Sami, “maybe like.”

“Okay, I love Indian cooking and you like 3D printing.” She raised her eyebrows, as if saying, okay now? “Do you think that we can combine them in some way? I like my job at village hall, but a job is a job. You have to work the hours required, on the days required, for the salary offered. It seems never ending. It would be great to work for myself.” Sophie looked at him coyly. “To work for ourselves.”

They had hit it off at the opening night of Tao Te Ching at QARY, the old quarry that was now a multimedia venue. Sophie had invited him along. They had held hands, smooched, and then the rest. Now there was regular sex and shopping. Things had moved really quickly but he wasn’t complaining. Sophie was a great girl.

Sami cast his mind back. “I used food colours a few weeks back. It was a 2D job making edible images to paste onto cakes. I had to work hard to retain colour clarity, resist bleeding, and eliminate pathogens. Working with food is a sticky business. I’m not sure it’s the right thing to focus on.”

Sophie’s face dropped, but she rallied her enthusiasm. “My friend Siva makes raw food powders, he calls them flavour flours. He’s trying to patent the process before a big food company does, but he’s a poor hippy from Kalash dealing with Intellectual Property lawyers charging five hundred dollars an hour. I’m not sure he’ll get anywhere. They were really good though.”

“The lawyers?”

“No, the flours. Can we try printing with those? It’s the perfect way to use this technology. We’d be using homemade ingredients for local manufacture. That’s really cutting out the carbon – road miles, air miles, sea miles – do they call them miles at sea, or is it fathoms?”

“I think that’s a depth measurement.”

“Well, what do you think of my idea? Can you fathom it?”

She wasn’t sure if she’d made a good joke. It was silly. He may like it.

Sami said, “Sure, let’s give it a go. Come by after work hours.” He winked and she blushed. “Otherwise I will have to charge you printer time.”

Sophie came the next evening with a selection of flavour flours. They smelled pretty pungent. Sami put them into the 3D printers, loaded a North Indian recipe, and soon produced Mughlai Biryani cubes. They emerged from the build pan, steaming.

Sophie licked her lips and tried one, and said, “Really good, but they need a bit more salt, and some turmeric and cumin.”

Sami adjusted the parameters. He tweaked colour, texture and odour, and then focussed on nutrition. The Mughlai Biryani became better and better, a spicy superfood.

Sophie said, “Instead of feedback, we can call this process foodback.”

“If you’ve got five hundred dollars we can patent that.”

The experimentation continued. They used master chef recipes, then formulas for medical enhancement. Via social media they could share the printer blueprints, flour production process, and test recipes. Changing quantities for families of two, three, four or more members automatically adjusted the recipes and instructions.

Imagine everyone cooking whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, wherever they were. The technological revolution had gone full circle, back to the most basic human need.

That’s how the Foodback TM revolution began.

Underfunded Military

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2012 by javedbabar

The dark car appeared at 6 p.m. People should check the opening times, thought Sami. I don’t mind helping out in emergencies, but I’m getting tired of working late just so people can dump their recycling and trash. His customers at the 3D Unit booked their sessions; they knew that just turning up wasn’t a good plan. He needed to educate the regulate punters.

Sami shouted to the car, “Sorry, we’re closing. Please come back anytime tomorrow between ten and six.” He had a date tonight with Sophie, sort of. She had invited him to attend the new multimedia show at QARY, the old quarry, inspired by Tao Te Ching.

The car didn’t move. It remained there with headlamps on and engine running. Sami shouted out again. They must have loud music on, he thought, or maybe they were taking a call. All the windows were dark, even the windshield. He approached the driver’s door.

As he reached the car, the passenger’s door, and the rear door on the opposite side, flew open. Before he knew what was happening, he heard sharp clicks and two soldiers stood with rifles pointing at his chest. Sami shuddered.

“No sudden movements please,” said a cheerful voice from within the car. “We wouldn’t want to shoot you. That would upset the lovely Sophie. You are seeing her at eight tonight, is that right?”

Sami couldn’t speak.

The voice continued, “You don’t have to speak if you don’t want to. But I must warn you that anything you do say may be taken down and used as evidence against you in a court of law.”

Sami decided not to speak.

There was laughter, and a tall man with thick beard, green eyes and green turban exited the rear of the car. Even though he wore combat gear, he was clearly no ordinary soldier. “Stand down,” he instructed the other soldiers. They put on their safeties and lowered their rifles.

“I hope you didn’t mind too much,” said the senior soldier. “It is standard operating procedure. I am General Singh, responsible for Extraordinary Logistics. You were approaching the vehicle in a potentially hostile manner; my men took the right course of action. Now let’s go inside. This won’t take long. An hour maybe.”

Sami led him to the 3D Unit. The general took a seat and said, “Do you enjoy living in Arcadia? Very good. We all do. It is a wonderful land. But we must not take our blessings for granted. There is always the likelihood of threat, and occasionally some aggression is required. We have an unstable world and the cost of maintaining the military is rising. It is a function of the size of the economy, which as you know is shrinking, and there are other demands on funds, and government and public willingness to spend on military budgets is waning.”

He looked around conspiratorially and continued, “To run operations with our big allies, or to run smaller independent campaigns, we need certain levels of technology. I will cut to the chase. We need nuclear bombs but we can’t afford to build them. I have heard about the wonders of 3D printing. Can you fabricate some for us?”

Sami was alarmed by the request, but also relieved. This wasn’t a job for him at all; it was a job for Alfred. He said, “Have you tried AMP Co. in the village. It is a government funded facility doing vital work. It was recently declared a Strategic National Asset. I just run the public interface here.”

“Drat!” said General Singh. “You see the results of cuts in research funding? I can’t afford a full time assistant, so looked it up myself. Now, which way is AMP Co.? My GPS software needs updating.”

Voodoo Valley

Posted in Conceptual Art, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2012 by javedbabar

Dynamic reflection was a term Sami first heard while making architectural models. It showed the way that little design changes caused related changes elsewhere. For example, a building’s cladding changing from wood to steel would affect its levels of heat and moisture, but also its visual reflectivity and life cycle sustainability. Every change had additional effects beyond the building, affecting the landscape in subtle ways.

“The first time I went to the old quarry, I had a vision,” said Sophie, visiting Sami at the Transfer Station’s 3D Unit. “It was filled with every kind of art. A host of creations poured from the place where Mother Earth was butchered. There was a need for healing.”

“Was that the inspiration for QARY?” asked Sami. Her QARY project, converting the old quarry to a multimedia venue, had been a huge success. Most seasons were sell-outs. He had invited Sophie to visit the lab to find out how she did it. Maybe some of her wisdom could be applied to Guru Baba’s charitable projects, for which he still volunteered.

Sophie said, “Do you know the Gaia Hypothesis? You don’t? It says that the earth is a self-regulating organism whose complex systems work together to maintain the conditions for life. They ensure the biosphere’s wellbeing, encouraging evolution of life forms, but acting against them when they threaten the earth’s habitability.”

“Gaia sounds like a tough mistress,” said Sami.

“So am I,” said Sophie, and then realized what she’d said. She appeared uncomfortable. “I hope that was helpful for you. I’ve got to get back to QARY to boss the crew around. We have a new show starting tomorrow.”

Sami was intrigued by Sophie’s words, particularly the notion of self-regulating systems. They were like human bodies, writ large. If that were the case they must feel both joy and pain, joy being harmonious growth and pain being destructive chaos.

Sami had an idea. He fed a map of Lucerne into the 3D printer. He fabricated a quick model which turned out pretty well. Why not model the whole valley in sections? As well as its physical aspects, he could symbolically include its spiritual aspects.

He categorized Mt Alba, the white peak above the village, and Mt Negra, the dark peak at the far end of the valley, as dynamic poles. He fed in cultural information. He didn’t know how to factor in a supreme god, but was able to include subservient spirits, responsible for various aspects of life. He scoured folk tales for forest elves, river sprites, cloud goblins, raindwarves, lightning giants, hillpixies, field witches, and cave ghosts. Their changing personalities would reflect many possibilities.

Was he tired, or was the model changing? It seemed to be shifting subtly. Trees walked, rivers changed course, clouds danced and darkened, rain stopped and started, lightning gathered and cracked, hills rolled around like bugs beneath skin, fields grew crops that were mystically reaped, and caves moaned and howled.

Were these effects extending beyond the model? Sami became scared. He deactivated the electromagnetic charges of Mt Alba and Mt Negra. Without these dual energies, providing light and shadow play, the spirits settled down.

There was now homeostasis, a stable state. Inertia. More fiddling with the earth would create imbalance and re-energize the spirits. There would then be the need for elaborate ceremonies and cure-all spells. The spirits would need soothing, and their price may be high.

Tiny Houses

Posted in Conceptual Art, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2012 by javedbabar

There was a huge earthquake in India and lakhs – hundreds of thousands – were homeless. Reading the report upset Sami. People were begging for clean water, food and shelter, and with the monsoon approaching they were likely to be washed out.

One of Guru Baba’s projects was disaster relief. Though Sami was now working as the 3D Unit’s manager rather than Guru Baba’s assistant, he was still on the books as a volunteer. He received a call at lunchtime.

“Hello Sami. My name is Raja. We haven’t met, but Guru Baba asked me to call you. I am his new assistant. He said you could help us with disaster relief.”

Sami put down his NFC sandwich. Whoever thought of putting fried chicken between bread was a genius. Northern Fried Chicken was so good, and to think that his previous girlfriend had wanted him to share her vegan raw food diet. No way, chook!

“Yes, of course. What can I do for you?”

“I am not sure really. Guru Baba wondered how your trials were going with large-format 3D printers. He said you were looking at modular construction systems.”

Ah! Thought Sami. He’s on the ball, still. Always thinking ahead and beyond. “I haven’t made much progress yet. There’s been a rush of prototyping projects this summer for fall production and Christmas sale. I may have time next week to continue trials.”

Sami knew people were in trouble. He wasn’t saying he couldn’t do anything, he was saying he couldn’t do anything right now. “Are you suggesting we make stuff here and ship it over? That would be really expensive, and take a month or more.”

“Hang on, let me ask him. I’ll call you back.”

He called again in five minutes. “Guru Baba says he doesn’t want production, he only wants prototyping. He wants you to provide low-tech blueprints for the printer and perform experiments on efficient material usage. Find the cheapest materials and stretch them. Can you please look into that?”

Sami said, “Okay, I’ll take a look. I’ll report back soon.”

The large format 3D printer appeared complex, but beyond the CPU, it was simple mechanically. It was just a machine layering materials and leaving gaps, paralleling the way that nature built landscapes, creating them with volcanoes and floods and fine-tuning with wind and rivers.

Sami wondered if nature, or the 3D printer, could rebuild lives.

Jamz poked his head in at four pm. He was unofficial leader of the rag pickers working the trash after school. “Hello Sami, I just thought I’d say hi!”

Sami wasn’t in the mood for chat. “Sorry Jamz, I have an urgent task now. No time to talk.”

“Can I help you with it?”

“I don’t think so. It’s for disaster relief in India. I need to think it through.”

“That’s the problem with adults. They want to think about things rather than do them immediately. Why don’t you tell me what you need and I’ll help you.”

Sami was surprised by his manner but said okay. He explained the task.

Jamz said, “It’s simple really. Make flexible blueprints so people can use whatever materials are available – metal, plastic or wood – for the structure. Leave the CPU to the kids. They’re savvy with technology and have smaller hands. They’ll do a much better job than adults. They can be actors, rather than burdens, in regenerating their own lives.”

They spent the evening making architectural models of simple structures. It was a practical, open ended way to explore ideas. They studied volumes and appearances, and toyed with components, calculations, and dynamic reflections.

“Let’s follow the way of the bee,” said Jamz. He devised a honeycombed wall structure allowing one cubic metre of cement to create a room with an internal volume of thirty cubic metres, enough for a family to survive. They modelled a room which could be shown by NGOs to government agencies for fundraising, obtaining permits, even sales.

Cement is just crushed rock and lime. It could provide the interface between virtual and real worlds, those of disasters on the news and providing comfort for the afflicted.

With 3D printers, it was simply a case of pushing a button and sending plans, which could be translated into action.

SFX Monsters

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2012 by javedbabar

Before managing the Transfer Station’s 3D Unit, Sami had acted as Guru Baba’s assistant. During this period he had also taken freelance jobs, such as local project manager for the global launch of the film HUMANITY, by auteur Manish. Nobody knew if Manish was his first name or last name; being so artsy he only required a single moniker.

The film could have been launched in London, New York, Paris or Mumbai, but the idea had come to Manish whilst climbing mountains in the Lucerne Valley, and he wanted to “return the idea home”.

The film received huge media attention, and being part of the launch crew got Sami noticed. He received requests to help out with films around the world, but many of the producers seemed hokey. They didn’t know anything at all about Sami, they just wanted him involved. After harassment on social media he had gone underground, but people still tracked him down.

His cell phone rang. “Hello, Sami? Oh good! I called you a few times yesterday but couldn’t get through. Where are you these days? Out in the bush?” It was Manish’s assistant, Sarah.

“Hello, Sarah, I’m at Lucerne Industrial Park. Cell reception is terrible here. Sorry about that. What can I do for you?”

“Manish is in Lucerne for three days. His visit was spur of the moment. He dreamt about the end of the world, but he said it could also be its beginning, and he wants to film his vision right now. He wants a mix of audio, video, photography and virtual reality. We can do the optical effects on set, and CGI after, but we need props for mechanical effects. Manish wants you to make monsters.”

“Make monsters? What kind?”

“He says it doesn’t matter,” Sarah attempted a Manish accent, a hybrid Hindi-American. “I can work with anything, okay?”

Sami attempted the accent too. “I am not saying that I am genius, but I have the genius gene.”

Sarah burst out laughing. “He said you decide – make them prehistoric or futuristic; he will use them either way.”

“Okay, when do you need them? I’ve got a busy day today. I could probably fit them in tonight.”

“Definitely?”

“Yes, definitely. I’ll have them done by twelve. Can you send me reference materials? Ideally in CAD, but I can work with photos and models too, and give them a Sami Style makeover.”

“Thanks, Sami, can I come over at… oh, hang on, it’s Manish on the other line. Why doesn’t he just come over? He is literally 10 metres away. Can I call you back?”

“Sure.” Sami put down the phone and then became nervous. This work takes careful planning and choreography. What had he been talked into – making monsters today for use tomorrow!

An hour later, he still hadn’t heard back from Sarah. He’d better start thinking. What was the nastiest monster he could think of?

He wrote down a list of scary things.

Huge. Uncontrollable. Unstoppable. Bloodthirsty. Destructive.

He could add the worst human qualities to give it personality.

Violent. Extreme. Paedophile. Murderer. Deranged.

We don’t want to overhype. Maybe tone them down a bit.

Trivial. Superficial. Anarchist. Lying. Cheating. Controlling.

He realized he didn’t have to invent anything. He just logged into his social media account for further inspiration. Everything he needed was there.

Diamonds Are Forever

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2012 by javedbabar

Guru Baba appeared in the 3D Unit. It seemed the retired holy man had manifested miraculously. He had in truth walked through the doorway, with Sami too busy to notice, tinkering with feedback loops causing unexpected effects.

“I hate to ask,” said Guru Baba, “but can you please help me with some admin? You know it’s not my strong suit.”

Sami had felt bad about leaving Guru Baba’s side but he’d had no choice. The Authority had repurposed him, changing him from the holy man’s personal assistant to manager of the Transfer Station’s 3D Unit.

His new job was enjoyable – prototyping designs, fabricating components, and creating unusual gifts – but he was aware that Guru Baba’s organization was in trouble. Its charitable projects were struggling, and recent events had been poorly attended. This was all due to a lack of organization, leading to a lack of funds.

Sami had to face the fact that he’d left his previous employer in the lurch. Widows, orphans, disabled people and disaster victims were suffering because of him.

“Guru Baba, I will come to your office after work. I’m sorry I can’t come right now as I have many orders to complete today. Shall we say 6.30pm?”

The sage nodded and left.

Sami’s first job today was fabricating a range of jewellery. It was amazing how things like this could now be designed and made locally. No India or China required.

He set the printer to multi-materials, loaded metal, glass and pigment powders, processed the design, set it to high definition, and pushed GO.

While the jewellery was fabricating, Sami thought about Guru Baba’s situation. How could he help his organization. What was…

A flash of white caught his eye, and then a blue flash, a red flash, and yellow, green and brown. He was dazzled by light. Diamonds! That was the answer, diamonds!

Guru Baba had often used a diamond metaphor for spiritual growth.

Its cut was how you caught and revealed the light that was given unto you.

Its carats revealed your spiritual weight, which was substantial yet also weightless.

Its colour was every colour possible, fused together and shining alone.

Its clarity was the vision that guided your life, making all things manifest.

Sami could make diamonds to fund Guru Baba’s charitable projects! Sure, they provided good abstract metaphors, but they were even better as material goods, and there wasn’t any law against fabricating diamonds, as there was against printing cash.

He knew that a diamond’s atoms form a rigid lattice, allowing very few impurities to enter. The ones that do enter may degrade, but can also improve, the diamond, like grit in an oyster forming a pearl. One impurity per million atoms is all it takes. Boron creates a blue diamond, nitrogen a yellow or red one, lattice defects make brown diamonds, and radiation exposure, green. Their desirability differs by culture. Green diamonds had once been the most precious in Europe, but now it was blue and red.

What didn’t change were superlative physical properties. Diamonds are incredibly hard and have remarkable optical dispersion, creating dazzling lusters. Guru Baba said they were the mineral equivalent of great souls. Like those of diamonds, the tints and taints of people were easily confused.

Sami could fabricate diamonds easily at the 3D Unit. They were allotropes of carbon arranged in variations of cubic crystal structures. He could build these lattices at the push of a button. GO.

What about the powerful natural forces required to make these wonders: high temperatures, hundreds of kilometres of depth, billions of years of time, and volcanic eruptions? In the modern age are these things inconsequential?

He produced a test diamond, and showed it to the rag-pickers working the trash after school. “You joker!” said Jamz. “Trying to trick us! That’s not a real diamond. It’s too perfect. It seems artificial.”

“Isn’t it good to be perfect?”

“Maybe it is, but it is better to be real.”

Feedback Loop

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Conceptual Art, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2012 by javedbabar

The mayor seemed angry and not in a good way. There were times when his ire was productive, like when he stood up for local citizens, local issues and local foods. Lucerne’s citizens admired him then. That’s why they had elected him thrice, despite his style of politics being known as B&B: Bullying and Boring.

“Just coming,” said Sami, opening the door to the 3D Unit at the Transfer Station. He had seen the mayor’s truck pull in, and the way he had stalked towards the container and banged the door. He was angry about something.

“Those models you made for me, they’re not the same. They’re all different!”

How could they all be different? Sami wondered. He hadn’t checked every one as it came off the printer, but he had checked each batch. The mayor was accurately depicted, looking handsome and strong.

Sami said, “I’m not sure what you mean. I thought they turned out okay.”

“Look!” said the mayor, handing him a pair of small blue busts. Sami examined them carefully. The colour was consistent, so was their size and texture. The shape was the same.

Upon close examination, he realized it was true. They were different. Not in a dramatic way, but a series of small differences accumulated, creating a big difference. Thick hair became wiry, bright eyes became beady, a slim nose became thin, and the strong jawline became clunky. All in all he became a different person, not the one people were voting for.

“I am really sorry about that,” said Sami. “Can you please leave these with me today, and I‘ll look into the matter?”

“Well, you’d better hurry. Today is Monday and the election is next Monday. I need to get them all out by the weekend.”

When the mayor left, Sami tested the printer. It was fine mechanically but he noticed a quirk in information transfer. There seemed to be an extra factor, a hidden one, causing replication variations.   Sami had produced them in ten batches of a hundred. He needed to examine some more models, so called the mayor and asked him to bring one from each box. He checked and then rescanned each sample bust.

He detected qualitative and quantitative components. There was confirmation, correction, explanation, diagnostics, and elaboration of information involved. He detected gaps between actual and reference levels of system parameters, and dynamic data exchanges. He realized there was a feedback loop, a chain of cause and effect.

Sami analysed the mayor’s nose, which had gradually become thinner. This shouldn’t happen with digital reproduction, where every replication is exact. There was evidence of informational feedback, dependent on the context of the gap. Like the mayor’s nostrils, or his vote margins, there was widening or narrowing.

Sami examined the mayor’s jawline, which had become clunkier during the production run. He found traces of motivational feedback, dependent upon the context of action. The mayor used words as awards or weapons, and they were returned in kind. There was a tense dance of reward and punishment.

“So?” the mayor said that afternoon on the phone. “Are you making some other ones?”

“I don’t think they’ll turn out any different. The 3D Unit is a self-regulating system, and recognizes the local democracy process as its analogue counterpart. Your features are affected by your behaviour. It is modelling this over time.”