Aug/14 Lecture
Matt Ratto: Beyond the Yoda Head: Making 3D Printing Meaningful | Archi

Beyond the Yoda Head: Making 3D Printing Meaningful | Archi

Despite the revolutionary rhetoric associated with new desktop manufacturing technologies, many of the objects created by consumer-based 3D printers remain at the level of kitsch and pop culture display. While the Yoda head, the plastic octopus, or the stretchy bracelet are powerful demonstrations of what is possible with 3D printers, they fail to highlight the democratization of material production that is often trumpeted by advocates. In fact, the simple downloading and printing of existent 3D models from sites like Thingiverse often works to recreate already existent consumptive practices, and a false sense of creativity typically associated with ???user-generated??? content more generally. In this talk, I will explore what it would take to move beyond such tropes, including the need for ???maker software??? to provide design capabilities for digital desktop fabrication tools, and the need for makers themselves to link up with current institutional players in areas of health, environment, and manufacturing in order to scale their innovations. I provide an example through the Semaphore Research Cluster???s 3D printing and prosthetics project and our partnership with CBM Canada, CoRSU hospital in Uganda, and Autodesk Research.

Matt Ratto