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3D Printing! When Do We Start Printing Body Parts?

Some people think 3D printing is taking away jobs by automating the manufacturing industry. Others think it’s a revolution in engineering. In this lesson, we’ll look at some of the reasons for the hype surrounding 3D printing, focusing on health and wellness.

Surprisingly, 3D printers have been in development since the 1980s. Charles Hull was the first person to patent the technology in 1986. Throughout the late 80s and the 90s, many companies focused on building 3D printers to be used for industrial design, to create prototypes. Because these printers were very expensive, only large corporations could afford to use them. In the mid-2000s there was a divide in the 3D printer industry. Though there were still innovations being made for the high-priced printers, there was a movement towards making 3D printers more affordable for the home or office. In 2009, the first commercial 3D printers were created by RepRap and MakerBot. By 2012, there were many 3D printer prototypes being funded on Kickstarter. Today a 3D printer can be purchased for around $1,000, but you don’t even need to own a printer to create a 3D object. You can send a file to a company like Shapeways or 3DHub to have it printed and shipped to you at a relatively low cost.

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3D printing is an industry that’s developing extremely rapidly. The way 3D printers work is similar to a standard inkjet printer, but instead of ink, they use a different material and apply it in layers. Usually a photopolymer resin is used, which can be melted and resolidified with ultraviolet light. The photopolymer is spread out and is built into a 3D object by printing many layers on top of each other. This process is called additive manufacturing, because it involves building layers of material (as opposed to subtractive manufacturing, which is like sculpting – cutting away pieces of material). It’s a simple way to make a solid plastic object without much heat in a precise manner.

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This lesson will look at some of the things that are currently being made with 3D printers. Students can make their own informed decision on 3D printing’s positive and negative impacts. They can also design their own 3D printed innovations and envision what the future holds for 3D printing.

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CGI Can’t: Physics Fails In Film

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is in more movies than you might think. Whether it’s enhancing a background, adding fog to breath, or even drawing Iron Man’s suit when he’s just standing around, it’s often invisible. If it’s done right, we barely even notice it.

But if it’s done wrong, it stands out. There are a lot of ways CGI can go wrong, but we’re going to focus on one thing: physics fails. In a physics fail, the CGI object is either way too light or way too heavy. When it interacts with real objects, the CGI does not have the right amount of weight or momentum. When a physics fail happens, it makes the audience painfully aware of how fake a movie is.

For example, nothing about this tank turret throw from Fantastic Four makes any sense whatsoever. How could a 500 lb rock monster anchor down several tons of steel? Why does the steel shatter? How come the impact doesn’t cause the nearby sand to scatter? Why does the blast fire out equally in all directions?

Sure, the Thing doesn’t exist, but for the space of 2 hours the movie is asking us to believe he could exist in a world like our own. Every time the CGI breaks the laws of physics, we get slapped in the face by reality.

Fantastic Four had comically bad CGI, but it’s far from the only movie with physics fails. Sometimes a physics fail happens for the sake of the plot, like with this incredibly lightweight helicopter because the effects team just didn’t bother to calculate for weight limitations.

Sometimes a physics fail is just the result when a fake object and a real object interact, like when the director forgets that a desk should wobble or tip when an elf jumps onto it.

So, how can directors make CGI better?
Well first, if they fail at physics, learn better physics.
Secondly, remember your audience is smarter than you think they are. Even a 12 year old can tell the difference between which scenes were shot on location and which action sequences were shot on a soundstage in Hollywood.
And lastly, keep it real. Be more creative and find ways to make the effects using real life elements, robotics, animatronics, puppets and other creative arts that brought Hollywood magic to life in the first place.

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3D Printing! When Do We Start Printing Body Parts?

Some people think 3D printing is taking away jobs by automating the manufacturing industry. Others think it’s a revolution in engineering. In this lesson, we’ll look at some of the reasons for the hype surrounding 3D printing, focusing on health and wellness.

Surprisingly, 3D printers have been in development since the 1980s. Charles Hull was the first person to patent the technology in 1986. Throughout the late 80s and the 90s, many companies focused on building 3D printers to be used for industrial design, to create prototypes. Because these printers were very expensive, only large corporations could afford to use them. In the mid-2000s there was a divide in the 3D printer industry. Though there were still innovations being made for the high-priced printers, there was a movement towards making 3D printers more affordable for the home or office. In 2009, the first commercial 3D printers were created by RepRap and MakerBot. By 2012, there were many 3D printer prototypes being funded on Kickstarter. Today a 3D printer can be purchased for around $1,000, but you don’t even need to own a printer to create a 3D object. You can send a file to a company like Shapeways or 3DHub to have it printed and shipped to you at a relatively low cost.

3D printing is an industry that’s developing extremely rapidly. The way 3D printers work is similar to a standard inkjet printer, but instead of ink, they use a different material and apply it in layers. Usually a photopolymer resin is used, which can be melted and resolidified with ultraviolet light. The photopolymer is spread out and is built into a 3D object by printing many layers on top of each other. This process is called additive manufacturing, because it involves building layers of material (as opposed to subtractive manufacturing, which is like sculpting – cutting away pieces of material). It’s a simple way to make a solid plastic object without much heat in a precise manner.

This lesson will look at some of the things that are currently being made with 3D printers. Students can make their own informed decision on 3D printing’s positive and negative impacts. They can also design their own 3D printed innovations and envision what the future holds for 3D printing.

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Breakthrough Starshot: Exploring the Infinite Abyss



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Stephen Hawking is a cosmologist, professor, theoretical physicist and one of the greatest living scientific legends.  He, along with Yuri Milner, an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and physicist, as well as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame, announced the Breakthrough Starshot initiative in April of 2016.

According to the website, Breakthrough Starshot is a “$100 million research and engineering program aiming to demonstrate proof of concept for a new technology, enabling ultra-light unmanned space flight at 20% of the speed of light; and to lay the foundations for a flyby mission to Alpha Centauri within a generation.”

Let’s break this down to understand what manner of science fiction we’re dealing with here.

 

Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri is our neighboring star system that is located four light years away. With current rocket propulsion technology – our current abilities to drive or push a rocket forward – it would take hundreds of millennia to reach it.

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The Speed of Light

In the past fifteen years, fast technological advances have opened up the possibility of light-powered space travel at a significant fraction of light speed.  The speed of light is 671 million miles per hour. According to the statement from Breakthrough Starshot, the program would push miniature space probes to speeds up to 100 million miles per hour, roughly 20% the speed of light.

The program would include a light beamer – basically a number of high powered lasers – located on earth, that would push nanocrafts to their top speeds.

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Nanocrafts you say?

These are gram-scale robotic spacecrafts comprising two main parts:  

  • A “StarChip”, which is a wafer sized component carrying cameras, photon thrusters, power supply, navigation and communication equipment, and constituting a fully functional space probe.
  • The “LightSail” is a meter-scale sail that is no more than a few hundred atoms thick and at gram-scale mass.

So, you could picture little wafer sized components surrounded by what look like sails, that lasers from earth push to speeds of 100 million miles per hour.  Crazy, right?

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Moore’s Law

The scientists explain that a few technological advances are making this invention possible.  First is the idea of Moore’s Law, which is the observation made by Gordon E. Moore in 1975, that explains that the number of transistors in dense integrated circuits will double approximately every two years. Basically, technology will only get smaller.  We’ve seen evidence of this over the decades and this observation has proved true every two years up to about 2013.  Its still a viable prediction for scientists to work with, but the rate at at which technology is advancing is indeed slowing down. Not dramatically, but it may perhaps change to every 3 or 4 years that we see a shift in scale of technological advances.  

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Nanotechnology

The second advancement in technology that is making nanocrafts a possibility are the advances in nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nano-scale, which is about 1 to 100 nano-meters. Nano-science and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering. These advances are becoming more and more a reality.

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Interstellar Space

Once the nanocrafts reach Alpha Centauri in a few decades, they would then beam home images of possible planets and analysis of magnetic fields. Along its journey, the nanocrafts could supply worlds of information about asteroids it crosses and solar system exploration. While Breakthrough Starshot is not the first project to explore the idea of interstellar space travel, it far outweighs any previous attempt in terms of funding. In 2011 the US research agency DARPA and NASA provided $500,000 to seed the “100 Year Starship Project”. That doesn’t quite compare with the $10 million that has been allocated to Breakthrough Starshot.

 

Path to the stars

The research and engineering phase is expected to last a number of years. Following that, development of the ultimate mission to Alpha Centauri would require a budget comparable to the largest current scientific experiments. Once it is assembled and the technology matures, the cost of each launch is projected to fall to a few hundred thousand dollars.

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I’m in, so when do we get the popcorn ready?

One of the great things about this initiative, aside from actually reaching interstellar space with a camera ready to send images to earth, is how the very development of this program is inviting the public to chime in with opinions and suggestions.  The team is essentially crowd-sourcing solutions to the number of engineering and logistical challenges that remain before this is a reality.  Transparency is important to the Breakthrough Starshot team, which is a great move, in my opinion. In about 25 years, we can finally microwave that popcorn as we await images of possible earth like planets from Alpha Centauri.

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NuSkool Travels the Country to Find Brilliant Students with a Passion for Real Life Learning

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This is a story about four brilliant young people taking their love of learning into their own hands. If all you know about your students is what you see in the classroom, then you don’t know them at all.
Arath, is a 15-year-old high school student from Chicago whose interest in building and engineering piqued from childhood. From the days of taking apart toy cars as a kid, he now builds bikes for people on demand. He learned the art of building different bikes on his own, and has dreams of becoming an engineer in the future. The money he earns from building bikes is used to support his two younger siblings.
Isaac, a 10 year old programmer, has a passion for building in Minecraft, Scratch, Mario Maker and has a love for game design. He does this on his own as a form of playing. What is surprising about Isaac is he has Autism but is highly functioning and he’s not going to let that get in the way of doing what he loves.
Spirit, well, there is truly no better word to describe this amazing young woman. She beams with energy and maturity. She has committed herself to a life of dance and you see that devotion and commitment in everything she does. She is a shining example of hard work, dedication and preparation to us all.
Georgia, not only has a love for animals but a love for bringing life into this world. Watch her amazing story as she balances life between school and farm duties where she is learning the role of pig husbandry.

This is real life learning…