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CES 2011: There's 3D Printing... And Then There's 3D Printing

DIY'ers can build a printer of that creates plastic three-dimensional objects, while the not-so-crafty can get 3D photo prints from an ordinary digital camera

1 min read
CES 2011: There's 3D Printing... And Then There's 3D Printing

Two companies at the 2011 CES are featuring 3D printing, but they are most definitely not talking about the same thing. I first spotted MakerBot’s 3D printers—they build objects from plastic according to instructions you send them from your computer via a USB cable or store on a memory card. At $1225 each, they are vastly cheaper than the hundred-thousand-dollar commercial 3D printers that have been available for several years; the only catch—you have to build the printers yourself, your $1225 just gets you a kit, you have to put the circuit boards and motors together yourself.

I hadn’t walked very far before I saw another sign advertising 3D printing; did MakerBot have competition? Not exactly. Instead, Kodak is including 3D printing software with its new printers. Take a picture with a regular camera, shift a little bit to the side and shoot again, and it prints out as a 3D image; a modern twist on the stereopticon.

For more gadget news, check out our complete coverage of the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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