Another Northeastern 3D project, called ANA, is particularly interesting. ANA prints physical 3D objects that store information via alphanumeric text. You can type text into ANA’s website and the text is coded into the printed object, making the object a storage tool for information. The result of a capstone project, ANA was created by visiting professor Janos Stone who partnered with Sia Mohammadalipoor, a mathematics PhD candidate; Michael Godlewski, an undergraduate senior in Digital Art and Interactive Media; Stephen J Elliott, an undergraduate senior in Programming and Computer Science; and Hooman Javaheri, a PhD candidate in Computer Science. As you might be able to tell from the varying backgrounds of the ANA creators, an important part of 3D printing at Northeastern is the emphasis on interdisciplinary applications. At the new Snell Library 3D studio, 3D printing, as well as other new technologies, will be woven not only into engineering and the sciences, but design and the arts as well. This is one of the reasons the facility at Snell Library will be unique–it will be a resource for everyone on campus and not be restricted to a particular major or grade level.
- An ANA print-out.
Looking beyond Northeastern, universities around the world have started to use 3D printing to do a number of cool things. Computer scientists at Harvard are conducting research on how to make 3D printing useful for artists and animators, and in one case, developing software for printing 3D action figures from digital animation files. They’re basically creating a software tool that translates 3D animations into fully articulated action figures(!).Case Western Reserve University has opened a space for the new technology called Think[box] where 3D printers, laser cutters, and other tools are available for students’ use, and Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand also opened a 3D Model Workshop equipped with metalwork and woodwork machines.