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Direct Digital Manufacturing

Technology
Direct Digital Manufacturing
Saturday, December 8, 2007
2 Comments :: Article Rating :: Computer Graphics, Robotics, Mechanical Engineering, e-commerce

You browse the site looking for the product you are interested in. You read some of the reviews to see what other people think of it. You check all the images, 3D models of the product and its interactive features. Finally you decide that it’s worth the money and you go ahead and pay for it. Somewhere else, in the middle of the country, a machine comes to life. It has received a command from an online retailer to make a product. The machine is given the Universal Standard Identification Number of the product. It contacts a product database and downloads the latest design data for your selected product. This digital data contains all the information necessary to manufacture the product. Having finished downloading the data, it starts the fabrication process using appropriate material. After a while, the fabrication of different components of the product is completed. These parts are assembled together with an assembly robot. The product is then sent via conveyors for packaging and is finally shipped to you.

This is the future of rapid product manufacturing and delivery. Today, such technology is mainly used by engineers for rapid prototyping. As the machines become more sophisticated, as the internet gets more mature and as global logistics becomes ever more efficient, there comes a time that products are made one at a time based on order; manufacture-on-demand. Perhaps there will always be a need to mass manufacture common products for efficiency, but as the Long Tail has shown us, there is a lot of scope in making low-volume products with infinite diversity for every taste.

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Machinima

Technology
Machinima
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
0 Comments :: Article Rating :: Artifical Intelligence, Computer Graphics, Media, e-commerce
Ever wanted to visualise your fantasies and see them like a video? Or perhaps you wanted to express your creativity after seeing a movie and try it the way you wanted to see the story unfold. In recent years, Machinima has helped the rapid production of story-focused in-game fan videos. Using a game engine and environment, a Machinima creator, also called Machinimator, can use existing game characters, sets and environment to create a film. Of course new sets and characters can also be created and added to the world. This result is then compiled, captured, edited and made into a film.

As animations become more realistic and easier to make, there will be a huge interest to make videos for good stories that are not yet told. On one side of the spectrum, ultra-realistic animations are becoming ever more popular. These however are usually designed by professional with access to high-end software and render-farms.

On the other side of the scale, average users may just want to visualise a fantasy with semi-realistic graphics and be willing to give up the realism for tool simplicity. In this case, the ease of video production is the key. The current trend in Machinima is the use of scenario builders in 3D games to create videos out of the components provided by the games. These editors are usually used to make the game itself, so they are incredibly powerful tools. What you can make with them is only limited by what each game engine can artistically provide. Apart from game engines, Machinima can also be created using virtual reality tools such as Second Life. These can be much more open and cover a wide range of possibilities; though they may not have the fancy polish and style of latest games (see a movie made in Second Life).

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Internet TV

Technology
Internet TV
Monday, October 22, 2007
0 Comments :: Article Rating :: Computer Graphics, Media, e-commerce

The dream has finally come true. There was so much hype around TV getting streamed over the internet for the past decade or two. But now, the new model is well established. Content is truly dynamic these days, from production to distribution, to rating, commenting and feeding. There is always someone who is producing something for any imaginable taste. The best way to find these videos is to see what likeminded people watched. Computers take care of it all now. For every type of content (like comedy, thriller, cooking, etc.) computers combine two kinds of data: what I like to watch and what others like me like to watch. It is quite efficient. The computer knows when I watch programs, what I watch, when I stop watching them and how I reacted to programs it chose for me. It also has access to similar content through channels, feeds and ratings provided by other citizens of this planet. Basically, everyone is programming the machines for everyone’s benefit. At last we are free. Gone are the days we had to watch low quality programs when they wanted us to see them.

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