How 3D printing will rebuild reality


A 3D model of a complex anaplastology case, created in collaboration with the anaplastologist Jan De Cubber, is seen at the Belgian company Materialise. 3D printing has already changed the game for manufacturing specialized products such as medical devices. REUTERS/Yves Herman

When Star Trek debuted in the mid-60s, everybody geeked out about the food synthesizers. Even my mom, a reluctant but compulsory Trek viewer, recognized the utility of this amazing gadget, particularly with two ravenous boys around the house. My brother and I knew, of course, that the real magic food box was the refrigerator.

Years later, I wasn’t the only one craving the replicators of Star Trek:The Next Generation for my home workshop. TNG’s follow-on concept of a ‘universal build-box’ upped the ante way beyond a hot cup of Earl Grey. The list of things we would have made at home was endless: for the kids, replacement baseball bats, balls and window panes, game controllers and handheld electronic devices. I would have gone in for replacement car parts, repairs for broken appliances and furniture, and an endless supply of consumables like gasoline, toilet paper, kitty litter, and inevitably, a couple of cold—strictly non-syntheholic—beers for afterwards. I note in passing that Starfleet protocol prohibits civilians from replicating weapons.

With the recent rise of the Maker movement and the advent of cheaper, easier-to-use 3D-printing technology, the sci-fi concept of a household device that can manufacture functional objects seems to be gaining reality. But for those who witnessed the technology’s birth and growth, it has been a surprisingly long and winding road—one that has recently reached a significant but mostly unnoticed milestone. For me, it all began with Star Trek and the Silver Surfer.

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Star Trek wine

Stwine

I don't know anything about wine, but I like the looks of Vinport's limited-edition Star Trek wine featuring label art by Juan Ortiz. The labels represent classic ST episodes: "The City on the Edge of Forever," "Mirror Mirror," and "The Trouble with Tribbles." Star Trek wine (via Laughing Squid)

The technology that links taxonomy and Star Trek

What made Star Trek’s original tricorder a great piece of fictional technology, writes Maggie Koerth-Baker, wasn’t its sci-fi looks. It was what it did.

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Back to the 60s with Star Trek sequel's sound designer

Tami Katzoff interviews Ben Burtt for MTV News:
While researching the sounds from the classic series, Burtt discovered that they were created with a Hammond chord organ. "Going back and getting some organ recordings and playing with it, I was able to fashion some things very similar to the transporter, perhaps exactly the same way, so that's in there."

Incredible Star Trek/Transformers crossover custom toy

Unicron9 created a custom Star Trek/Transformers crossover toy in which the Enterprise transformed into Autobot E. "The head had to be long because the deflector dish is on the top of it for alt mode," Unicron9 says, "so I went for a majestic alien look with a mix of Geordi's visor, Vulcan ears, and Andorian antennas." "Star Trek/Transformers Crossovers: Autobot E" (deviantART)

LEGO Star Trek Into Darkness trailer

(Spoken in the voice of Don LaFontaine): You may have seen the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, but have you seen it... in LEGO!? Directed by Antonio Toscano and Andrea Toscano.

Star Wars trio to reprise roles in Disney/Lucasfilm "Episode VII"

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek published today, George Lucas more or less spilled the beans: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will reprise their roles as Hans Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in the new "Star Wars" film. All three had signed on for the forthcoming "Episode VII" project before Lucasfilm's $4 billion purchase by Disney.

"We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison — or were pretty much in the final stages of negotiation," said Lucas. "Maybe I'm not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do."

WHOAH, SPOILER, DUDE.

Fisher had confirmed her reprisal in an earlier interview.

Star Trek-themed online art sale

TrekartttQ Pop is holding an online Star Trek art sale with more than 100 piece most of which are less than $100! Above, Doug Gauthier's "Mugato" plushie ($100) and Peter Paul's "Uhura" watercolor ($50). "Beam Me Up: Star Trek Art Show"

Vote for Spock socks!


Cast your vote now on Threadless for these Spock socks (called, predictably enough, "Spocks"). Leonard Nimoy called them "fascinating". Need I say more?

Score Spocks | Threadless (via IO9)

Benedict Cumberbatch's role in Star Trek Into Darkness revealed! Or is it? [UPDATED]

Paramount just released the first official still from Star Trek Into Darkness with a caption that seems to identify Benedict Cumberbatch's mystery villain as John Harrison. But -- and it's a pretty big "but" -- the name "John Harrison" is actually part of Star Trek backstage lore, and not really the name of any Trek villain. Besides the Starfleet technician Harrison played by Ron Veto, the name was used for several random, unnamed onscreen characters (including redshirts) in several episodes -- a placeholder. So, are we being messed with? Is it a case of Trekkie misdirection? Or is this a brand new Star Trek villain? Tor has a few theories that will interest and enlighten. (via Tor)

UPDATE: Movieline's Jen Yamato attended a press event for Star Trek Into Darkness yesterday and has some news on the "John Harrison" character. In case you really don't want to know, I'll leave the information at the link, which also contains some really interesting (and spoilery) theories about some original Star Trek source material that are well worth a read.

Photo credit: Paramount

Star Trek 2 trailer!

Three thoughts:

1. Looks damned good.
2. The trailer makes it look like a straight-up action movie with sci-fi backdrops.
3. Maybe they're so cagey about calling him Khan because it's a British actor in a classic minority role?

Speaking of that particular semiotic snarl, did anyone notice the first time around that Vulcans are now a predominantly British entity, whereas in earlier Star Treks they were Jewish American? Given what happens to Vulcan itself in the rebooted franchise, I wonder if to JJ Abrams, it just didn't seem right to cast Jewish people--and Jewish culture--in the role of "friendly but vaguely sinister aliens."

Whereas that is a technically accurate description of the British.

Some highlights from NY Comic-Con

I'm at Comic-Con for the Pirate Cinema tour. Here's some highlights from yesterday's brief excursion on the floor:


An Occupy Ankh-Morpork protester at Terry Pratchett's signing for Dodger.



Star Trek: TOS bathrobes! (Speaking as a serious loungewear enthusiast, I have this to say: PHWOAR). Available from Amazon and ThinkGeek.

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Data does Captain Picard

Here's Brent Spiner (Star Trek's Data) doing his greatest party trick: a pitch-perfect imitation of Patrick "Captain Picard" Stewart, including hilarious anaecdotes about how he used this power to sow mischief. Patrick Stewart got his revenge later.

Brent Spiner imitates Patrick Stewart... again. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

US naval analyst on science fiction space warfare

NewImageForeign Policy magazine interviewed naval analyst Chris Weuve, a former US Naval War College research professor, about space warfare in science fiction.

Has sci-fi affected the way that our navies conduct warfare?

CW: This is a question that I occasionally think about. Many people point to the development of the shipboard Combat Information Center in World War II as being inspired by E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman novels from the 1940s. Smith realized that with hundreds of ships over huge expanses, the mere act of coordinating them was problematic. I think there is a synergistic effect. I also know a number of naval officers who have admitted to me that the reason they joined the Navy was because Starfleet Command wasn't hiring.

"Aircraft Carriers in Space" (Thanks, Todd Lappin!)

Sulu talks

Over at Mother Jones, George Takei, who played Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, shares some fascinating stories about Asian stereotypes in Hollywood, his childhood memories of a post-Pearl Harbor internment camp, and being "quietly out" in the late 1960s. From Mother Jones:

NewImage

MJ: Did the cast know you were gay?

GT: Most of them knew, but they were cool. They knew what impact it could have on an actor's career. Once I was at work chatting with Walter Koenig, who played Pavel Chekov, and he started gesturing at a group of young extras who were dressed in the Starfleet shirt. There was a gorgeous young guy with a fantastic build and that tight shirt on him and that's when I knew that Walter knew. I turned back to him and he was grinning. He was helping me out! Bill [Shatner] was oblivious. In fact, when he was on the Howard Stern Show, Howard had me call in and chat with Bill. I mentioned Brad and he didn't know who Brad was. Everybody knew! We had a very public wedding. Bill says, "Who's Brad?"

"George Takei, the Best Driver in the Galaxy"