Thursday, November 18, 2010

Transmedia in Brooklyn: MakerBot Immanentizes the Future

Interesting article by Andrew Belonsky on "MakerBot Industries," a Brooklyn-based company that is a manufacturer of open-source 3-D printers. Three dimensional printers?  3-D printers are "machines that use hot plates and malleable materials, such as plastic, to manufacture three-dimensional representations of a design. This is done by layering materials atop one another, shaped by moving parts, such as robotic arms, to form a solid mold."

The Brooklyn-based first started as "a hobby for Bre Pettis and co-founders Adam Mayer and Zach Smith. The men wanted a 3-D printer of their own, and employed their respective engineering backgrounds — Pettis helped create the NYC-based hacker space NYC Resistor, Smith worked in robotics and Mayer in programming — to make their dream a reality. And with their machine’s completion, the men realized what they had to do: deliver MakerBot to the masses."


"MakerBot, a “rapid prototyping machine” whose “Cupcake” model starts at $750, remains one of the most affordable 3-D printers on the market. You simply need to buy the machine, upload your designs to their computer, and set it to print, a process MakerBot accomplishes by heating plasticine materials, like high-density polyethylene, and molding them into the desired shape."

Andrew Belonsky's full article on "Manufacturing the Future" from ScribeMedia here

MakerBot's website here . While, to DITHOB, MakerBot appears to be part of an emerging transmedia culture, a form of storytelling where content becomes invasive and fully permeates the audience's lifestyle, on any of a variety of media, and even emerging into the physical world, it also offers extremely functional, future-is-now manufacturing potential: One commenter noted that a visitor's car key was broken and the MakerBot was used to actually reproduce a replacement car key right on the spot.   A transmedia project develops storytelling across multiple forms of media in order to have different "entry points" in the story; entry-points with a unique and independent lifespan but with a definite role in the big narrative scheme (Bruno Giussani, TED), something that the 3-D printer can readily do by giving sculptural physicality to images, as opposed to our current digital society where much of a "new reality" exists as diaphonous electronic images on screens of various sizes .

To see a MakerBot 3-D printer in action; check out the video here

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Current Reading

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Current Listening

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