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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: Scott Summit
The tried-and-true shape of the acoustic guitar could soon give way to other configurations as designers follow in the fret—or rather, footsteps—of 3D Systems, which has built a visually arresting instrument out of $3000 worth of plastic and an ornamental steel plate. Having proved that plastic will stand up to the string tension, the designers are playing around with other configurations they hope will please the ear as much as the eye.

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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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