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A Longer and More Winding Road to Personal 3D Printing?

A Mixed Bag of Making
I have touted the prospects for digital fabrication and more specifically the economic benefits of the additive manufacturing revolution enabled by 3D printing. Great strides have been made to bring 3D printing out of computer lab and into the R&D shop. Thousands of firms now use printers costing from $15,000 to [...]

Factory in a Cloud; Part 2

In the previous post I outlined the prospect for cloud based do it yourself (DIY) digital manufacturing. I described a test of this capability using the fabrication (fabbing) service, Ponoko, to make the parts for a lamp of my design, using laser cut acrylic sheet and 3D printed polymer. My goal for the project was [...]

Factory in a Cloud Part 1

Can you design and create a tangible product from your desktop, using cloud based digital manufacturing? The answer so far is yes, but a UPS delivery in the near future will tell for sure. We’re testing Ponoko.

Fabbing Our Way to Recovery; Digital Design, Fabrication and the Internet of Things

Several related developments in computing and technology suggest intriguing prospects for the world of design, plus tantalizing opportunities for domestic manufacturing and economic development.
Digital Fabrication
Digital fabrication uses computer controlled tools, such as laser cutters, routers and three dimensional printers to make parts and assemblies. Formerly, such work required expensive molds or cutting and shaping with [...]

the retail end of the smart grid; consumers first!

The smart grid has been promoted as key to this country’s energy future; an intelligent network tying together power production, transmission, distribution and consumption; reacting in real time, matching supply and demand. At the residential, “retail” end of the smart grid, conventional marketing wisdom has it that a utility installed smart meter will facilitate home [...]

the priority for sustainable cities

I was recently asked what could be done to advance the concept of a sustanable city. I replied that as much as I like cars as interesting mechanical devices, ultimately, and at almost every scale, demography and  geography a city that can reduce its reliance on private automobiles will be a more livable place – with a better [...]

will “seeing” our travel and transactions make us smarter consumers and commuters?

I chatted with a computer scientist colleague last week about an open transaction platform he’d like to build that would bypass the major vendors and give consumers and small merchants alike access to the type of data retail giants now use to sell us even more stuff. One of the benefits of this open platform, among others, [...]

weatherviz video now showing

Video of weatherviz preview now playing.

weatherviz debuts in seattle

We live in soup of streaming data. Weatherviz is an experiment to capture some of that data and make it more tangible through the medium of kinetic art. The weatherviz system has gathered radar images from very recent weather events throughout the territorial United States. It then employs these images to drive a large, kinetic [...]


The old line goes “Everybody complains about the weather but no one does anything about it.” We’re doing something about this! Our art and technology project, called weatherviz, captures and makes visible a small slice of the river of meteorological data constantly flowing around us. It is an automated system that downloads weather information and uses robotics to drive a large kinetic sculpture. The whole production will ultimately be accessible over the Internet.


We develop and market energy efficiency strategies and technologies. We focus on the building and transportation sectors, which account for more than two thirds of the energy budget.