iCandy: You 3-D Printed What?

Cars, clothes, guns—and even body parts—at the press of a button

1 min read
iCandy: You 3-D Printed What?
Photo: Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: EADS
Imagine a bicycle designed, from the tires up, with you in mind. The Airbike, whose dimensions can be adjusted with a few keyboard clicks, may be the forerunner of a bespoke riding experience. The bike, made from nylon by engineers at the European Aeronautic Defense and Space group, is as strong as steel but weighs only 35 percent of what a metal bike would. The additive layer manufacturing process takes care of everything, including the wheels, bearings, axle, and drive chain, in one go.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
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Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush
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Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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