Some Assembly Required

BMW Workers Get 3D-Printed Super Thumbs, Are Basically Cyborgs Now

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Each year, smarter, more efficient robots join assembly lines and put skilled mechanics out of a job. But BMW is helping its workers fight back, and has started 3D printing physical enhancements for its factory workers so they can break the rising tide of the machine takeover.

BMW has started custom-designing and 3D printing thumb carapaces to protect workers from the strain of their labor. To develop the super-thumbs, the team at the BMW manufacturing plant in Munich teamed up with the Technical University of Munich’s Ergonomics Department to use 3D printing — which BMW calls the “talk of the town” — to solve the problem of thumb strain. Read More

Expert Thoughts

How 3D Printing Is Bringing An Ancient Art Form Back to the Future

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(Photo via Joe Carr)

On my desk sits a small marble bust of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. It was carved in 1840, twenty years before Matthew Arnold’s famous essay about the philosopher king, but a thousand and a half years after the great man walked on earth.

Marcus and the other stoics would say that these years matter very little in the grand scope of time. That between then and now, people have done the same thing they’ve always done: lived, died, slept, cheated, hated, loved, excelled, failed and on and on. Read More

The Future Will See You Now

Intel’s New Laptop Can Read Your Emotions, Make Everything 3D

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The tech world has been buzzing about Amazon’s new Fire Phone, which has a small array of simple 3D cameras on the front. But today, Intel showed off their new 3D camera tech, and it already makes Amazon’s attempt seem quaint.

Intel has been working for years and has spent “hundreds of millions of dollars” on developing the depth-sensing cameras. They call the technology RealSense because of the lifelike way the cameras take the world in. Read More

3D printing

In 2013, Investors Finally Figured Out That 3D Printing Is Going To Be Huge

(via Makerbot Industries)

3D printing has been talked about for years as a potentially groundbreaking technology, and it looks like investors finally got the memo. Funding for 3D printing companies in 2013 was 319 percent higher than the previous year, says a report on the CB Insights blog.

“Previously, consumers didn’t really know how to get things printed with their 3D printers,” CB Insights founder Anand Sanwal told Betabeat. “By having a growing marketplace to lead the space, the applications will be more clear and usage will have a lower barrier of entry.” Read More