Kubo poster

The technology behind Kubo and the Two Strings

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. A frightened woman crosses a storm-swept sea in a tiny canoe as black strands of windblown hair hit her face. Rain pours down her kimono as her fingers clutch a three-stringed Japanese shamisen. A massive wave looms over her canoe, impressing on the viewer how small and human she looks. The woman strums the shamisen, conjuring a magic flame that cuts clean through the wave. The opening scene in the stop-motion film Kubo and the Two Strings — created by animation studio Laika and released in August — demonstrates…

3D printed clitoris (2)

The 3D-printed clitoris opens the door to sexual revolution

Over the past three decades, 3D printing has expanded from modest origins—a stereolithographic prototype designed by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp. in 1984—to being hailed, in 2012, as the vehicle of a third industrial revolution. In the past few years alone, we’ve 3D-printed Van Gogh’s ear, a hi-tech waterproof bikini, some synthetic rhino horns in an attempt to stop poaching, and began to make real inroads into the world of 3D-printed prosthetics. At this year’s Paralympic games in Rio, Denise Schindler became the first Paralympic cyclist to use a 3D-printed prosthesis. Oh, and you can also turn your child’s latest drawing to sculpture for a modest-ish fee.…


New thermoforming technique offers a faster alternative to 3D printing

With the advent of 3D printing, it’s easy to imagine a future where industry is as simple as pressing a few buttons on a computer screen. Just take any computer-generated 3D model, send it to a 3D printer, and within a few minutes to a few hours, you’ll have an actual, physical object that you can hold in your hand. The problem, then, is the wait. Whereas a three hour wait for a small statue might be bearable for individual use, large-scale production houses may not be able to afford the lost time when compared to more traditional methods. To…


Ancient Syrian arch destroyed by ISIS recreated with 3D printing

The issue of whether replicas in restoration are or should be desired is a hotly debated topic. With a replica of Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph, which was destroyed by Daesh (Isis) last October, being unveiled in Trafalgar Square as part of World Heritage Week, this debate is brought back into the fore. The restoration, which is spearheaded by The Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA), is intended to be an act of symbolic defiance against terrorist acts of cultural destruction. Deborah Lehr, who heads the Antiquities Coalition, a private advocacy organization in Washington, told NPR “Unlike other militant groups, the Islamic State has…


Knyttan makes personal fashion as easy as dressing a videogame avatar

Knyttan is a fashion startup or, if you would prefer a cultural reference, a 21st century incarnation of Cher’s closet in the opening scenes of the 1995 teen classic Clueless. In practice, the film’s build-your-own-wardrobe app looks an awful lot like the maker movement’s version of fashion design. You log in to the company’s website, pick an item of clothing—current offerings are limited to jumpers and scarves—and proceed to customize patterns that Knyttan has asked designers to contribute. Those designers do not all hail from the world of fashion: Moniker is an interaction design studio; Nicolas Sasoon describes his work…


A pair of Dutch artists have created 8-bit food

There’s obsessive portion control as a dietary practice, and then there’s millimeter-perfect portion control as an aesthetic statement. “Cubes,” the latest project by Dutch artists Lenert and Sander, falls into the latter category.  The artists responded to a commission for a food spread in de Volkskrant by cutting 98 pieces of food into 2.5cm cubes. Though these cubes are precisely cut, they have little to do with traditional culinary knifework. Lenert and Sander have not produced an oversized brunoise of Wagyu beef, purple potato, and endive. Rather, the pair has turned foodstuffs into a sort of geometric artwork wherein each…