Weekly Video(s): Optical Illusions and Home Manufacturing
Okay, so I’ve slacked a bit on weekly videos — I have my excuses, but I won’t get into them now. To compensate, I’m posting two short clips today. One is rapidly making its way around the internet and may be familiar to Vancouverites. It’s definitely transportation planning related. The other video is a little less planning related, but I’ll attempt to justify.
Vid 1: Scaring the hell out of drivers so they slow down. Is it a good idea? With limited use, I suppose this could be an effective way to get people to slow down. Then again, the thought of deliberately placing optical illusions on streets seems iffy. Should the approach be overused, drivers might start to assume that real pedestrians are merely eye tricks… just saying.
Vid 2: How do affordable 3D printers affect planning? Well, in couple of ways. First, if you’ve ever had to build a model of anything, you might welcome a more time-efficient, non-arthritis-inducing alternative. Pumping out various models of public spaces would be much easier, save for all of the important conceptual work that goes into them. Secondly, and more importantly, 3D printing might change the nature of manufacturing in ways that we’re only beginning understand. Though the printers shown in this video are still relatively expensive ($5k or so), projects such as RepRap strive to make 3D printing available to anyone, anywhere for far less money — or, as they put it, the aim is to place a small factory in every home (here’s a little video explaining the project). The short of it is that at some point in the not so distant future, a good number of homes may have the means to produce everyday hardwares without so much as walking out the front door. Have a brilliant idea for a new, indispensable domestic product? Print it. You want a new toy for your kid, or a bowl for your soup, or a new set of hangers? These can be printed too. Further, the RepRap folks are already beginning to compile an open-source database of printable designs, including designs for the printer itself (thus making it self-replicating). What does this mean for the future of large-scale manufacturing? Are we really entering an era when the production of goods becomes fully democratized? And what happens when everyone in the world has the capability to make as many plastic trinkets as they want? Could get ugly…
Anyway, there’s my justification for posting this video which may only be marginally planning-related. Enjoy and share your thoughts.