24 October 2008

Sometimes, the right people win

I just got a newsletter from Creaform 3D, the Canadian company that sells the wonderful Handyscan hand-held 3D scanner. We have been using our Handyscan for the last three years, and for many projects there is nothing that can compare.

Charles w/ Handyscan

Three years ago I made my first trip to Quebec City and crossed the river to the town of Levis, where Creaform's HQ was. As I recall they were in a small complex of buildings with an auto repair shop and a pizza parlor. It was a chilly day in early November, but the enthusiasm of Nick Bourgue, Marco St-Pierre, and CEO Charles Mony (above) was infectious. They knew that they had a disruptive innovation in their hands, literally, and they were ready to take it to the world.

According to their newsletter, they have been recognized as the 22nd fastest growing company in Canada. Congratulations Creaform! Félicitations! It is great to see true innovation, hard work and commitment rewarded. I'm lucky to have been able to spent a day with you at the start.

20 October 2008

300,000 3D printers by 2011?

Gartner analyst Pete Basiliere is quoted in Business Week as estimating that by 2011 there will be 300,000 3D printers "on the market". Not sure what's meant by that wording - 300,000 total sold, or 300,000 in year? To put it in perspective, the same story gives Terry Wohler's estimate that just over 3000 were sold in 2007. So a hundred-fold increase in just 4 years? I thought I was bullish on the technology.

By the way, I heard that one of the 3D printing companies was spreading rumors that Desktop Factory has "closed its doors". Well, I was down there today and walked through the door. It's true you do have to ring a bell, then they let you in, but they are working away and continuing to make good progress.

15 October 2008

A most wonderful clock

Cambridge (England) has unveiled its new Corpus Clock and Chronophage last month. I was lucky enough to learn about it this morning from one of my co-workers who saw it recently. Please watch the video - it's amazing!

I'm so impressed with the creativity of people like John Taylor, who can combine analogue and digital engineering with deep thought, drama, and humor. It's deeply traditional and absolutely of our times simultaneously. What a masterpiece! OK, now I have to go back to Cambridge just to see this.

06 October 2008

Sad news - Fabidoo to cease production

Fabidoo, the custom 3D manufacturer, has announced that at the end of next week they will cease producing 3D parts. According to a letter sent to their members:
... for the time being, we will stop selling fabidoos and will accept orders only until Friday, 10th of October 2008, 8pm CEST (German time)!

Apart from that, almost everything remains as it is. You can still create new designs and comment & rate other fabidoos. Via the fabidoo widget you can still put your creations on other web pages to show your design skills.

I'm glad the name and concept will live on, and I hope that they can find a way to restart production at a future date.

04 October 2008

How Slow is Slow?

It's one thing to have a crazy idea - it's another to make it happen. I'm so impressed by people who do. Usually, we call them artists.

John Cage was one, and he constantly pushed the boundaries - what is music? what is silence? How slow is slow?

His organ piece "As SLow aS Possible" was debuted in a 29 minute performance. But at a church in Germany, a performance of As SLow aS Possible began in 2000, and won't finish for another 631 years. If you want to hear the next chord change in the piece - an occurrence roughly as frequent as a lunar eclipse - you'll need to get to Halberstadt, Germany by November 5. If you miss that one, you'll have to wait until February, 2009.

There's no reason to do something like this. That's what makes it so fascinating to me.

You can read about it at the Long Now Blog - always worth a look.

Apparently, this piece didn't make it into the popular canon - amazon.com doesn't even sell a recording of it.