Amazing bit of techno journalism by Bunnie Huang that tracked down a particular piece of hardware in China, and what that piece of hardware says about the future of gadgets and open.
$12 is the price paid for a single quantity retail, contract-free, non-promotional, unlocked phone — in a box with charger, protective silicone sleeve, and cable. In other words, the production cost of this phone is somewhere below the retail price of $12. Rumors place it below $10.
This is a really amazing price point. That’s about the price of a large Domino’s cheese pizza, or a decent glass of wine in a restaurant.
via The $12 Gongkai Phone « bunnie’s blog.
Some cool projects in here…I particularly like the Audiobook, and the various server options.
40+ Cool Ideas for your Raspberry PI Project | PingBin.
This is a wonderfully detailed article about an interesting new blend of weapon and tech…the Precision Guided Firearm. For those unfamiliar with guns, it’s effectively a computer-assisted firearm, relying on a human to pick a target and tell the gun where you’d like the bullet to go. The gun then tells you when it’s in the right position and angle to actually hit the target you chose, and fires appropriately. According to the article linked below, the reporters were able to hit targets the size of a dinner plate at 1000 yards…insane, unheard of accuracy even for the very best human marksmen.
With a marketing plan that involves iPads, Google Glass, and gamification of target practice, this company is very, very savvy. I am interested to see what they come up with, and how quickly this system drops in price.
The Precision Guided Firearm is a “whole widget” type of thing—it’s not just a fancy scope on top of a fancy gun, but rather a tightly integrated system coupling a rifle, an ARM-powered scope running a modified version of Angström Linux (with some custom BitBake recipes and kernel modules to support the rifle’s proprietary hardware), and a linked trigger mechanism whose weighting is controlled by the scope.
via Bullseye from 1,000 yards: Shooting the $17,000 Linux-powered rifle | Ars Technica.
Neat! The ability to visualize and handle 3D models of living animals internal organs and such could be a huge boon to surgeons, and make “exploratory” surgery much less common. I’ve not clue the risk/return comparison to be had between a CT scan (tons of radiation) and exploratory surgery, but I can imagine an overlap somewhere where this is preferred.
The idea to print skeletons from CT scans came from Evan Doney, an engineering student working in the lab of Matthew Leevy, who runs the biological imaging facility at the University of Notre Dame. ”At first I didn’t really know what the killer app would be, I just knew it would be really cool,” Leevy said. But he began to see new possibilities after striking up a conversation with an ear, nose, and throat specialist during an office visit for a sinus problem. “I actually got out my computer and showed him some slides, and by the end of it we were collaborating.”
Doney used several freeware programs to convert data from CT scans into a format that could be read by a 3-D printer. As a proof of principle, he and colleagues printed a rat skeleton in white plastic and printed a removable set of lungs in green or purple.
via How to 3-D Print the Skeleton of a Living Animal | Wired Science | Wired.com.
Color me highly skeptical of this endeavor, given the touchy nature of today’s 3D printers. All of the printers I’ve seen require a human operator for routine maintenance and mucking about with leveling/settings/print bed issues that would seem to me to preclude the sort of reliability that you’d need to make an actual vending machine work out. But more power to these guys if they can make it work.
Combining the hyper-local convenience of Redbox with cutting edge technology, Dreambox is a vending machine that aims to fuel the 3D-printing revolution from the bottom up.
Dreambox was created by co-founders David Pastewka, Ricard Berwick and Will Drevno, who all met in a mobile application development class and competition at the University of California, Berkeley. Frustrated by their lack of accessible, on-campus 3D printing options and the two- to four-week lead time for online 3D printing services, the trio came up with the idea for a more ubiquitous option.
via 3D Printing Coming to Vending Machine Near You.
Another example of how 3D printing is revolutionizing certain medical procedures. Prior to the spread of 3D design and printing, this work was done by individual artists at huge expense and with often long turn around times…and, with no disrespect to the artists involved, often not as much precision and matching of existing structures.
By creating scans of what was left of his skull and using computers to recreate what his face would look like, they were able to use a new type of printer that builds up layer upon layer of nylon plastic to produce the exact components they would need.
via How doctors printed my new face – Telegraph.
Adding to the plethora of 3D printers now available, here come the 3D scanners! Makerbot has announced one, and here’s an IndieGoGo crowdsourcing project for one.
Photon 3D Scanner | Indiegogo.
Oxford Performance Materials (OPM) out of South Windsor, CT has announced that it has received FDA 510(k) clearance for its new OsteoFab 3D printed cranial device. This marks the first approval for an additively manufactured polymer implant. The new OPM device is a cranial maxillo-facial (CMF) plate for skull reconstruction which can be used to replace up to 75% of the skull. Their device is made from PEKK (polyetherketoneketone), which has many of the desirable properties of the commonly used PEEK implant material — but it also has twice the compressive strength, making it an ideal material to replace any bone that counts user protection among its primary functions.
via Oxford Performance Materials Now Able to 3D Print 75% New Skulls.