Report Finds Businesses Evaluating 3D Printers, Few Using Them
3D printers have definitely gained a lot of attention this past year. These powerful maker machines have the potential to disrupt many industries but how many businesses are actively using them and for what? These are some of the questions Tech Pro Research asked to over 600 businesses in a study they did on “3D Printing: Benefits, Trends, Enterprise Applications”. 
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The report found that many businesses are evaluating the use of 3D printers but few are actively using them. In fact only 12% of the respondents indicated that they were using 3D printers at work. But despite the small number of organizations who are using them, most surveyed (48%) are evaluating them with 19% planning to implement 3D printers within the next 12 month. 40% of those surveyed said that they had no plans to implement or evaluate 3D printers for their business.  
Of those that are using 3D printers, most are using these machines for testing of ideas or concepts (73%) while prototyping (67%) and manufacturing of parts (40%) were also ways 3D printers were adding value to organizations.
For the 40% of businesses who are currently not considering 3D printing, Tech Pro Research found a lack of business need (66%) and lack of value proposition (27%) to be the reasons. They also identified that companies who do not perform engineering or manufacturing work do not see the benefit of these devices.

Report Finds Businesses Evaluating 3D Printers, Few Using Them

3D printers have definitely gained a lot of attention this past year. These powerful maker machines have the potential to disrupt many industries but how many businesses are actively using them and for what? These are some of the questions Tech Pro Research asked to over 600 businesses in a study they did on “3D Printing: Benefits, Trends, Enterprise Applications”. 

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The “Lego” of IoT, LittleBits, Coming to Radio Shack in August
Tinkering just got easier. Technology retailer, Radio Shack, will be piloting distribution of LittleBits in select stores in August. LittleBits is a modular electronic system that snap together with magnets making it easy to create workable electronics without the need to solder, wire or even program.
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The magnet connectors are a huge draw for the electronic kit as is the color coding they use on each module to make it easy to understand what the components do and how they should be put together. LittleBits uses a four color system to indicate which modules are for power, output, input or are wires and if you are stuck on ideas the kits come with starter projects to help you get making. As the LittleBits library currently has 264 modules, the sky is the limit to create inventions with this system, catering to young makers to engineers and agencies looking to rapid prototype. 
To connect creations made with LittleBits to the Internet of Things, LittleBits has introduced cloudBit. Like other modules, cloudBit connects to other modules in the LittleBits library using magnets. Once given a power source, it enables the creation to talk to the internet and vice versa. For programmers, LittleBits offers a cloud API or the LittleBits Arduino module for customization. But if that’s not your thing, they have also support automating services through IFTTT. This allows users to create inventions which trigger events on popular online services like Facebook, Instagram and hardware systems like NEST and Philips Hue.
For a limited time, LittleBits is offering its Cloud Starter Bundle for $99. The kit includes six modules, wall power and mounting boards and is ready to go create intro projects like building a remote pet feeder or modifying your doorbell to text you when someone is at your door.  
According to a report by Bloomberg, Radio Shack expects to roll out LittleBits in over 2,000 stores in the Fall and is just one of many inventions that it will stock its shelves with in an effort to re-invent the chain and increase sales.

The “Lego” of IoT, LittleBits, Coming to Radio Shack in August

Tinkering just got easier. Technology retailer, Radio Shack, will be piloting distribution of LittleBits in select stores in August. LittleBits is a modular electronic system that snap together with magnets making it easy to create workable electronics without the need to solder, wire or even program.

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Google Glass Goes to the Opera
Italy’s Teatro Lirico di Cagliar will become the first in the world to hold an interactive opera using Google Glass. The opera company will be holding a trial performance with Google’s first wearable July 30 of Giacomo Puccini’s Turnadot.
[[MORE]]The Glass experience uses a system developed by TSC Labs and lets the audience view the performance through the eyes of the performers or backstage access from the view point of a stage hand.
This is not the first innovation coming out of this theatre. Teatro Lirico di Cagliar proudly hosts a Research and Technology centre and along with the Google Glass experience, the theatre will also be offering live streams on its social media, sending real-time photos and videos to those that follow.

Google Glass Goes to the Opera

Italy’s Teatro Lirico di Cagliar will become the first in the world to hold an interactive opera using Google Glass. The opera company will be holding a trial performance with Google’s first wearable July 30 of Giacomo Puccini’s Turnadot.

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Tesla Gets Its First Android Wear Smartwatch App
The car of the future, Tesla, just got even cooler with the launch of the first Android Wear app for the vehicle. Created by Toronto-based mobile shop, BNOTIONS, the Tesla Command App lets lucky Tesla owners control some of the core features of the car straight from their wrist.
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The app, which was released just last week in the Google Play store, gives Android Wear smartwatch users the ability to unlock doors, honk the horn and even open and close the sunroof all with the tap of a button on the smartwatch. Users need to punch in their Tesla credentials head of time to make sure that they are controlling the right car.  
BNOTIONS has uploaded a video of the app in action complete with a shiny Tesla Model S. Check it out in the video we have for you below.

Tesla Gets Its First Android Wear Smartwatch App

The car of the future, Tesla, just got even cooler with the launch of the first Android Wear app for the vehicle. Created by Toronto-based mobile shop, BNOTIONS, the Tesla Command App lets lucky Tesla owners control some of the core features of the car straight from their wrist.

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Amazon Launches 3D Printing Services To Offer Customizable Accessories, Toys and More
Back in June, Amazon opened up a 3D printing store as a centralized place to sell 3D printers, filament and other tools needed to start 3D printing at home. Today, Amazon has taken its 3D printing services one step further with the launch of a 3D printed product marketplace which allows users to customize over 200 print-on-demand items. 
[[MORE]]The marketplace features search tools, 3D previews and a personalization widget which lets users make modifications to select items by changing things like material, size, style and color. It also showcases 3D printed products which are for sale as is.
“The introduction of our 3D Printed Products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail - that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience. Sellers, in alignment with designers and manufacturers, can offer more dynamic inventory for customers to personalize and truly make their own,” said Petra Schindler-Carter, Director for Amazon Marketplace Sales. “The 3D Printed Products store allows us to help sellers, designers and manufacturers reach millions of customers while providing a fun and creative customer experience to personalize a potentially infinite number of products at great prices across many product categories.”
Amazon’s 3D printed marketplace is currently selling customizable jewellery like cufflinks and earrings, toys like Mixee’s bobble heads and home decor items like vases. We gave the personalization a widget a spin this morning and it was extremely straightforward and is very much geared towards users who are not familiar with 3D design. We personalized our own pair of cufflinks in just three clicks. 

Although 3D printing marketplaces are not new, a store of this magnitude behind the Amazon brand will go a long way to bringing 3D printing options to the main stream. This benefits both users who are looking for more personalized options and designers who are in need of a place to sell their 3D printed wares.

Amazon Launches 3D Printing Services To Offer Customizable Accessories, Toys and More

Back in June, Amazon opened up a 3D printing store as a centralized place to sell 3D printers, filament and other tools needed to start 3D printing at home. Today, Amazon has taken its 3D printing services one step further with the launch of a 3D printed product marketplace which allows users to customize over 200 print-on-demand items. 

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Michigan Hosts World’s First 3D Printed Tee-Ball Game 
Two Western Michigan Little League teams made history last week as the first to play tee-ball with equipment made entirely from a 3D Printer. All elements of the game were made on a 3D printer including the helmets, bats, bases, tees and even the balls.
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The event was hosted by 3D printing company Burton Precisions Co Inc. and Universe 3D who were also responsible for printing all the materials. The one-hour game saw twenty-six little league players using the 3D printed equipment to hit homeruns and steal bases on the same field as Minor League Michigan team the Whitecaps.
A game facilitated entirely out of 3D printed materials showcases the opportunities 3D printers offer in bringing manufacturing to the masses to allow them to print the tools they need for any situation. 
Image Source: 3DPrint.com

Michigan Hosts World’s First 3D Printed Tee-Ball Game 

Two Western Michigan Little League teams made history last week as the first to play tee-ball with equipment made entirely from a 3D Printer. All elements of the game were made on a 3D printer including the helmets, bats, bases, tees and even the balls.

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Jibo Wants To Be Your Family’s First Robot
We are dependent on our smartphones to do many things in our family life. These devices set reminders, take pictures, find recipes and let us communicate with one another. But even though they are an integral part of our lives, they don’t feel like part of the family. Meet Jibo, a connected personal assistant that adds a much needed personality to technology making it social. Jibo aims to be your family’s first robot and by the looks of how well it is doing on Indiegogo, there are a lot of family’s that can’t wait to welcome him home.  
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Jibo is a Wi-Fi enabled robot equipped with two high resolution cameras, a 360-degree microphone and sits on three full-revolute axes which lets him turn his head around to face you when needed. Jibo’s cameras use face-tracking which are perfect for picture taking and for more immersive video calling. And the microphone lets you talk to Jibo from anywhere in the room and have him process what you are saying with his natural language processor.
Like Siri or Google Voice, Jibo can be used to make a call, set an alarm or get the weather. Ask Jibo for a recipe, or to order take-out or even read your a story and he will do it. The more you use Jibo the more he gets to know you. Jibo’s algorithms start to learn about the user to adapt preferences based on your life. 
On top of being completely helpful, Jibo is also super adorable. The concept video for Jibo on the Indiegogo campaign brings to life a robot that we would expect to see in a Disney movie.  
The Jibo campaign has raised nearly nine times its funding goal with tons of time on the clock. Early adopters who need to have Jibo in their home as soon as possible can grab one for $499 USD with a shipping date of December of 2015. The campaign just recently unlocked a perk for those more patient which lets them pre-order Jibo for 2016 with only $199 down now to pay the rest closer to the shipping date.

Jibo Wants To Be Your Family’s First Robot

We are dependent on our smartphones to do many things in our family life. These devices set reminders, take pictures, find recipes and let us communicate with one another. But even though they are an integral part of our lives, they don’t feel like part of the family. Meet Jibo, a connected personal assistant that adds a much needed personality to technology making it social. Jibo aims to be your family’s first robot and by the looks of how well it is doing on Indiegogo, there are a lot of family’s that can’t wait to welcome him home.  

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Google Opens Google Glass Basecamps
Google has setup three basecamps to help long term Explorers, those new to the program and those just interested in learning more about its first wearable tech. 
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The basecamps have been set up in LA, New York and San Francisco. The locations are places where Glass users can go for fittings or support. And where newcomers can go to get a demo and try Glass on for the first time.
Those interested in visiting a basecamp can head on over to the Google Basecamp page to schedule an appointment which is necessary. Google does state that you are able to bring one guest to your visit but they need to be over 13 years of age.

Google Opens Google Glass Basecamps

Google has setup three basecamps to help long term Explorers, those new to the program and those just interested in learning more about its first wearable tech. 

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Your Next Ice Cream Sundae Could Be 3D Printed
We’ve seen candies, cake toppers and even pizza get the 3D printer treatment. So it was just a matter of time that Summer’s favorite treat, ice cream, joined the party. MIT students have hacked a 3D printer to produce soft serve ice cream in any shape. 
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The 3D ice cream printer was part of a graduate project for the students as part of the additive manufacturing program at MIT. The students built a cooling system using liquid nitrogen to ensure that the ice cream kept its shape.  The coolant allowed the ice cream to be built up in layers just like a traditional 3D printer would when using plastic.
The team told 3Ders.org that they were inspired to build a 3D printer that use ice cream as they thought it would be fun for children. Although the machine needs a lot of refinement, they believe that in the near future ice cream parlors like Dairy Queen will adopt the use of this technology to take ice cream treats the next level.

Your Next Ice Cream Sundae Could Be 3D Printed

We’ve seen candies, cake toppers and even pizza get the 3D printer treatment. So it was just a matter of time that Summer’s favorite treat, ice cream, joined the party. MIT students have hacked a 3D printer to produce soft serve ice cream in any shape. 

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Metaio Brings Augmented Reality to the Smartwatch
Leading augmented reality software developer, Metaio, is bringing its visual search capabilities to the smartwatch. It’s object recognition software transforms the smartwatch camera from a nice-to-have feature to a must-have tool. 
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Metaio’s solution uses photos taken by a user to match up results in its object library. When a match exists the app takes action like providing the user with glanceable information about the object. In a recent video posted on its YouTube channel, Metaio shows the app in action on a Galaxy Gear smartwatch where pictures of advertisements in a paper come to life on the watch and snapshots of items eaten at breakfast are added to a food journal.
For Metaio, the smartwatch offers a way for users to quickly and conveniently discover more about the world around them. They state in the video description:

“There exist millions of objects in our environment that can be scanned by a smart device, but it is not always convenient for users to be constantly removing their smart phones from pockets or purses. Placing object recognition capabilities on the wrist allows for convenient access to visual search and augmented reality applications that already exist today”. 

Metaio Brings Augmented Reality to the Smartwatch

Leading augmented reality software developer, Metaio, is bringing its visual search capabilities to the smartwatch. It’s object recognition software transforms the smartwatch camera from a nice-to-have feature to a must-have tool. 

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Technology that Knows Who You Are: Featured Speaker Karl Martin
One of the most critical ingredients in creating a connected world is making sure that our technology knows who we are. Once our smart car, smart TV and even our smart toaster confirm our identity they can provide more meaningful experiences like the perfect in-car temperature, your favorite TV channel or how light or dark you like our toast. Right now we mostly use passwords and pins to help our tech tell us apart from others, but these mechanisms are frustrating, cumbersome and definitely don’t feel very futuristic. One wristband, the Nymi, is about to change all that. 
[[MORE]]The Nymi is a wristband which uses your cardiac rhythm or your unique heartbeat to identify who you are and then relays your identity to any connected thing via Bluetooth. As the Nymi is something you wear, it offers persistent identity once you are authenticated which means that you only need to confirm your identity once rather than every time you want to get access to something. 
Bionym, the company behind the Nymi, is getting ready to ship its first batch of wristbands out to those that have pre-ordered in the Fall of this year. The team has spent the past couple of months focusing on the design of the device and are now in the process of ramping up manufacturing to prepare for their public release. They are also focusing on building apps for they Nymi on every platform including iOS, Android, PC and Mac.
There are some pretty obvious uses for the Nymi like using it to unlock your smartphone, access your Gmail or even possibly paying for a coffee. But the Nymi’s identity capabilities move far beyond a password and pin replacement. It has the potential to personalize the connected world around you. 
“Identity is not just about security but also about different profiles and different behaviors that depend on a person’s preferences”, CEO and Co-founder of Bionym, Karl Martin, told Designers of Things. “One of our core interests longer term is adaptive environments. Just in the past year smart lighting has become very accessible you can actually buy wi-fi enabled smart lights at Home Depot and these are the kinds of things that we would like to marry the Nymi capabilities with. It’s really going to be about environment and experiences not just about security”. 
But as much as walking into a room to have the perfect lighting sounds nice, Bionym realizes that the Nymi’s immediate draw is reducing the headaches being caused by the abundance of passwords and PINs we have found ourselves having to manage in our daily lives.
“Smart environments and hyper-personalization are something that excite people but the whole thing about security, passwords and unlocking devices is something they understand and is a pain point today”, explained Martin. “It’s great that people can relate to the product both as something that will help with a pain point today as well as the excitement of the future”. 
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This article is part of our featured speaker series for Designers of Things Conference which takes place September 23-24, 2014 at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, California. Get 25% off VIP and Tech passes now through July 26, 2014 by clicking here.

Technology that Knows Who You Are: Featured Speaker Karl Martin

One of the most critical ingredients in creating a connected world is making sure that our technology knows who we are. Once our smart car, smart TV and even our smart toaster confirm our identity they can provide more meaningful experiences like the perfect in-car temperature, your favorite TV channel or how light or dark you like our toast. Right now we mostly use passwords and pins to help our tech tell us apart from others, but these mechanisms are frustrating, cumbersome and definitely don’t feel very futuristic. One wristband, the Nymi, is about to change all that. 

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Celebrate the First Moonwalk with 25% Off DoT 2014
The 2014 Designers of Things conference – taking place September 23 & 24 in San Francisco – is celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing! Register here before July 26, 2014 and save 25% on VIP and Tech passes.
[[MORE]]The conference schedule continues to grow. Check out a few recently added sessions:
Designing for Quantified OtherSteven Eidelman | Co-founder, Whistle
Challenges of a 3D Printing StartupMarcus Foley, Aaron Rowley, Joseph White | Co-founders, Electroloom
Identification, Authentication and Customization with BiometricsKarl Martin | CO-founder & CEO, Bionym
View the latest conference agenda.

Celebrate the First Moonwalk with 25% Off DoT 2014

The 2014 Designers of Things conference – taking place September 23 & 24 in San Francisco – is celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing! Register here before July 26, 2014 and save 25% on VIP and Tech passes.

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Thread Sews Consistency Through the Fabric of the Internet of Things
Nest, Samsung, ARM, Freescale and three other companies have joined forces to form a group dedicated to solving some of the challenges around the Internet of Things. The non-profit is called Thread Group and they have designed and developed a protocol for the Internet of Things aimed at making the connected home much simpler and easier for users and developers alike.
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The Thread Group’s mission is to “create the very best way to connect and control products in the home”. The consortium got together to tackle relevant IoT issues such as battery life, dependency on one device as a hub and an often confusing user experience.
Their solution is Thread, a standard for connected products that is designed to be secure, simple to use, power efficient and runs on a robotic mesh network with no single point of failure. A version of Thread is already shipping in products today and the group has indicated that “millions of 802.15.4 wireless devices already on the market can run Thread with just a software enhancement — no new hardware required”.
"Existing wireless networking approaches were introduced long before the Internet of Things gained ground," said Vint Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist, Google, and advisor to the Thread Group. "The Thread protocol takes existing technologies and combines the best parts of each to provide a better way to connect products in the home."
Thread Group is one of many groups being created to try to standardize the fast-growing connected world. The group joins the Open Interconnect Consortium which was just recently formed by Intel and Samsung and AllSeen Alliance which is backed by Qualcomm. 

Thread Sews Consistency Through the Fabric of the Internet of Things

Nest, Samsung, ARM, Freescale and three other companies have joined forces to form a group dedicated to solving some of the challenges around the Internet of Things. The non-profit is called Thread Group and they have designed and developed a protocol for the Internet of Things aimed at making the connected home much simpler and easier for users and developers alike.

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Fitbit Gets a Makeover with the Tory Burch Collection
Accessories designer, Tory Burch, has launched an exclusive collection for the Fitbit Flex. The marriage brings a flair of fashion to the popular activity tracker. Checking the style box for Fitbit is huge seeing that one of the most common complaints about wearable technology today is the fact that it isn’t very “wearable”. 
[[MORE]]Among the accessories for the connected step counter is a metal hinged bracelet and fret pendant which do away with the silicon wristband completely and create a cradle for the Fitbit sensor to sit in to keep track of your activity. Burch will also be offering Silicone Printed Bracelets in Tory Navi and Fuschia which can be used in lieu of the out-of-the-box versions that come when you buy a Fitbit. 
The Tory Burch website is accepting pre-orders for all of the accessories ranging from $175 for the metal fret pendant to $38 for the designer silicone bracelets. All of the accessories are expected to ship at the end of August. 
This is not the first tech accessory for the designer. Tory Burch also offers a collection of smartphone wristlet purses which act as all-in-one clutch for your cash, cards and smartphone. 
The Tory Burch + Fitbit partnership marks a shift in the wearable landscape where more focus is being placed on the aesthetic and personalization of the tech than just on its sensor-capability, which is definitely a step in the right direction.

Fitbit Gets a Makeover with the Tory Burch Collection

Accessories designer, Tory Burch, has launched an exclusive collection for the Fitbit Flex. The marriage brings a flair of fashion to the popular activity tracker. Checking the style box for Fitbit is huge seeing that one of the most common complaints about wearable technology today is the fact that it isn’t very “wearable”. 

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3D Printing Big Dreams With CobbleBot
Everything is bigger in Texas and the Cobblebot is no exception. The latest 3D printer option to hit KIckstarter, Cobblebot is a low cost printer with a large build area of 15x15x15. The team behind Cobblebot have big dreams to shake up the 3D printing market to make these devices more affordable and able to do more than just print trinkets and iPhone cases.  
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The Cobblebot is being offered to backers on its Kickstarter page for a price of $299. This is a significant price drop from the $3,700+ price tag which is normally attached to a printer with this capability. The company explains that its ability to bring the price down for Cobblebot is all about connections. They explain on the Kickstarter page:

How are we able to get the cost this low?  One of our team members is a business attorney with extensive connections in the manufacturing world and has negotiated rock bottom prices from all of our suppliers.  And that negotiated price keeps falling based on the quantity we order - This is where stretch goals come in - each stretch goal is based on the amount of orders necessary to get the next lower price from our suppliers.  The savings is then shared with everyone with the STRETCH GOAL items (heated bed, filtration case, stepper drivers, etc..)

Outside of cost and the large print area some of the other unique features of Cobblebot are the ability to customize its color scheme and the fact that the print area is entirely stationary. Cobblebot was built with all of its axes connected so that the print bed can stay stable and the printer builds the item straight up with all of the axes connected. 
 Cobblebot has already raised nearly double its Kickstarter funding goal of $100,000 and is well on its way to meeting its first stretch goal of $250,000 which will upgrade the stepper drives of the unit. 

3D Printing Big Dreams With CobbleBot

Everything is bigger in Texas and the Cobblebot is no exception. The latest 3D printer option to hit KIckstarter, Cobblebot is a low cost printer with a large build area of 15x15x15. The team behind Cobblebot have big dreams to shake up the 3D printing market to make these devices more affordable and able to do more than just print trinkets and iPhone cases.  

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