One-off formulae

I managed to get myself along to the TEDx Brixton event in October.  I trusted it wouldn’t be too formulaic and I wasn’t disappointed.  Too many fascinating, inspiring and diverse talks to even think about writing up:  I tried to just let it sink in to the subconscious whilst jotting the odd note for things to check out later.

One thing that lodged in my conscious thought was the juxtaposition of a 3D printers and a portrait stitcher outside the speaking hall.  3D printing had produced the trademark red X’s that were included in the goodie bags of attendees.  The portrait stitcher was low tech – just a girl with talent and a sewing machine – but held a crowd just as strong.

The difference seemed to be that whilst the 3D printer was perfectly capable of producing unique creations, the stitched portrait guaranteed it.  Moreover, the portrait was inherently personalised and required skilled human time to create which both loaded it with value.

How could 3D printing pick up some of those qualities for increased value?

One obvious way is the production of physical models via 3D scanning of loved ones.  In the same way photography democratised portraits with studios, we could have ‘sculptures’ created for posterity of the not-so-rich-and-famous.  I realise I already touched on this thinking about Project Tango.

Another possibility is an approach that makes it possible to create interesting aesthetic art and designs without technical or artistic training.  Anyone who has produced a website/logo/interior design will know that lack of experience or aptitude doesn’t stop anyone expressing an opinion.  Given a well-crafted system of UI and rich modelling, it becomes possible to interactively evolve art and design through the repeated expression of a preference – something I’ve worked on before and intend to again.

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