3D Printing and Community Engagement

The price of enterprise-class 3D printers is now under $2,000. Maybe it’s time we started thinking about some of the potential uses of 3D printing in community engagement?

The opportunities for this technology to support small creative enterprises is tremendous. The next surge in manufacturing jobs may just be in manufacturing customized products one at a time. Knowledge sharing will also benefit, as tangible objects of all types will be created to make learning (including applied learning) just a little more real.

Spend a few minutes with this PBS video called, Will 3D Printing Change the World?” You’ll probably think of many, many more community-centered applications for 3D printing.

Historypin: great potential for local history projects

Creating opportunities for students and local residents to explore local history is a great way to learn while creating an appreciation for the places we live. If you are engaged in oral history, historical event research, or any type of project that seeks to create a greater sense of place; you might consider checking out Historypin.

Historypin lets you compare historical images to current Google Maps Streetview images. If you are looking to enhance historically-focused service-learning projects,the short video below might plant a few seeds in your head.

Car Windows as Mobile Touch Screens

OK, I usually focus on apps and tools that are already available for people to incorporate into their work. This, however, is just too cool not to share. I found it in a list of Netexplo Award winners for 2013.

General Motors’ R&D Department in partnership with Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design, have been working on WOO, a technology that turns car windows into touch screen computer devices. The details are in this PDF. The video below provides a good overview.

Great Ideas: Adopt-a-Hydrant

hydrantI am always looking for great examples of readily available, free technologies are being used for public benefit. This sounds like a great potential civic engagement project for campuses in  snowy places like Minnesota.

Developed by Code for America, Adopt-a-Hydrant helps people to claim responsibility for shoveling out a fire hydrant after it snows. The Adopt a Hydrant software is free for any city to adopt. Learn More.