Seemed like it was just yesterday when 3D printers were the talk of the town, hyped to the maximum, the next big thing, a technological wonder that was poised to revolutionize our world like never before. However, the fire seems to have burned out pretty quickly as most now think that these 3D printers are only suitable for printing miniature action figures for geeks.
Yes, its is known that these machines can do a lot more than just print action figures, but do their boons far outweigh their bane. Here are some talking points on potential harmful consequences of using 3D printers:
1) Energy-Hogging – They consume about 100 times more energy to melt plastic and mold it than injection molding.
2) Air Emission – The emission of unhealthy toxins from burning of plastics resulting in environmental issues and health risks.
3) Plastic Reliance – When the world is moving towards a plastic free age, ironically, the devices is centered around the usage of plastic for printing purposes.
4) Manufacturing Impact – Introduction of these printers in the car or aviation manufacturing industries to replace the human element will result in loss of jobs for manual labor.
For every bad thing that can be said about anything, there can definitely be a good thing that can be said about it too. Let us see how 3D printers can help change the world for the better.
Changing the way rhinos are being poached:-
A San Francisco-based startup has come up with an interesting concept to curb the poaching of rhino horns. Coupling the usage of 3D printers and the advancements in biotechnology, they are attempting to fabricate rhino horns from not synthetic materials but organic matter, metals, minerals, proteins and in cases even actual rhino DNA. The idea is to sell these artificial rhino horns to the said poachers ( to cover the cost of printing it ) who then go on to sell them in various international markets to make money and feed their families. This way, the rhinos are left unharmed and the market eventually dies out.
Tracking poachers using turtle egg shells:-
Not as big as a rhino but just as endangered, turtles have a huge market for their goods. Turtle eggs are stolen and sold for huge money with one egg going for a whopping $150. Paso Pacifico, an environmental conservation organization has taken the initiative to safeguard these turtle eggs from being poached and sold. They proposed to use 3D printers to print fake eggs, equip them with GSM and mixing them with the real eggs so as to enable the authorities to track their movement and uncover the sellers and their markets.
Medicine and health care:-
While we are on the topic of turtles and their safety, here’s another usage of the 3D printer, that is soon to be adopted by almost all veterinary hospitals around the world.
The image displayed below is of Akut-3 a loggerhead sea turtle that got struck on the jaw by a boat’s propeller. It was rescued by an organization called Dekamer.
A CT Scan of his skull showed what needed to be done, and BTech Innovations a company that specializes in custom implants created this printed beak and jaw made out of titanium for the wounded turtle. Now, Akut-3 is swimming freely deep in the ocean with his almost perfect printed jaw.
Self Service Dentistry:-
From turtles onto humans, we go on to the case of one Mr. Amos Dudley, a digital design student from New Jersey who decided to implement all that he learned about his own treatment. Choosing not to wear braces as a child left Amos with a crooked smile. Being broke but having unlimited access to all the high-end equipment from his lab at college, Amos decided to take things into his own hands.
Some cheap alginate powder that gave him a mold of his teeth along with a 3D laser scan that could translate imagery into existence which finally was fed into a 3D printer, he was able to print a model of his braces. At the cost of $60, he now has a fully functional set of bracers that are doing wonders for him. This is clearly an indication that 3D printing can be widely used in dentistry for treating the untreatable.
3D printers capable of outputting in colour and multiple materials already exist and will continue to improve to a point where functional products will be able to be output. With effects on energy use, waste reduction, customization, product availability, medicine, art, construction and sciences, 3D printing will change the manufacturing world as we know it.
Edtech Startups That Are Changing The Education Game
With education being one of the most sought after fields for more than half the population of the country, it comes as no surprise that edtech startups are the next big thing of the startup world. While some coaching centers take a look at how to better education through the traditional way, others look at bettering with the help of technology. From education funding to facilitating better coaching methods, below are some startups that have completely transformed the education landscape of India!
1. BYJUS: The Learning App
Founded in the year 2008 by Byju Raveendran, the app was created to help students train for competitive exams like CAT, JEE, IAS, GRE, and GMAT. The app came into the limelight when it secured an investment to the tune of $ 50 million from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Sequoia Capital, among other investors. Using interactive videos, interactive learning concepts and personalised tutors, BYJUS aims at helping students learn by understanding and not by memorising what is being taught.
Founded by Nishant Patni and Pranshu Bhandari, the CultureAlley website came into being when the two founders realised people wanted to learn new languages but found it really difficult to master a new task. The duo further realised that out of the 1 billion people trying to learn a new language, over 60% were actually struggling to learn English! With regular courses on grammar and English, the website is aimed at helping people get over the discomfort of learning a new language from scratch. The main goal of this app? To help people achieve what was thought to be impossible.
Founded by Aditi Avasthi, Embibe consists of a group of young thinkers who believe that in order to learn, every student deserves personal attention. An online website designed to make preparing for tests an easy task, Embibe works towards helping those preparing for the engineering examinations. Recently receiving attention for getting funding to the tune of $ 4 million from Kalaari Capital and Lightbox Ventures, Embibe works with to reduce the amount of pressure students face while working on some of the most exhaustive examinations during their student life.
4. Plastic Water Labs
Based out of Bengaluru, Plastic Water Labs is unique in the sense that it aims at improving the quality of education by introducing the concept of virtual reality. Through virtual reality, Plastic Water Labs is working at helping students understand and retain information for longer periods of time. Currently focused on students belonging to the 6th grade to the 8th grade, Plastic Water Labs is working towards introducing virtual reality in the fields of mathematics and science, two of the toughest subjects students in these age groups have to deal with on a regular basis. With only a nominal subscription fee, Plastic Water Labs is working improving the quality of education as well as to make life easier for children prepping for the toughest times of their lives.
Founded in the year 2009 by Krishna Kumar, Simplilearn was started with the aim of helping working professionals. With more than 400 courses in multiple fields covering a wide array of subjects like IT, digital marketing, programming, big data, and analytics, Simplilearn gives you government recognised certificates for every course you have taken through the website. Since the time of its inception, more than 5,00,000 individuals have been certified!
From improving the kind of equipment available to increasing the scope of knowledge, startups everywhere are working towards the betterment of education through technology. If you think we missed out on any other edtech startups, comment and let us know!
Google’s Founding Story And How It Became What It Is Today
Search engines and web domains have been around since the beginning of the internet. Despite being the most popular search engine now, Google has been around for a very short period of time. Here is how this search engine conglomerate was founded!
Like all love stories, Larry Page’s and Sergey Brin’s story had very troubled beginnings. The two met for the first time at Stanford University in the year 1995 and from the moment they locked eyes, everyone around knew trouble would follow. At the time, Brin was a second year student, whose job was to take potential students around campus and Page, an interested student, ended up in Brin’s group.
Walking up and down the hill, Brin and Page could not stop arguing with each other, constantly debating and fighting over everything from the weather to the historic places of San Francisco. Obnoxious, social and extremely opinionated, Page and Brin were poles apart in every way. What made them come together then? Their interests and desire to create a one of a kind search engine.
The first project
Page and Brin were thrown together for the first time ever when they started writing the code for a search engine, then called BackRub, because of its ability to analyse backlinks. Despite the tumultuous relationship shared by the co writers, the code became a massive success. So successful was the project that it resulted in the creation of a research paper titled The Anatomy of a Large Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.
BackRub was unique in its functionality. By using an internally developed technology called PageRank, BackRub ranked a website’s importance by taking into account the number of pages on the website, the importance of the pages and the number of times they were linked to to the original site. The product was relatively successful but unfortunately, buyers were not interested in getting a product which was still in its initial stages. Finally, after multiple rejections. Brin and Page decided to innovate and create something new with (hold your breaths) Google!
The name that changed the world
Page and Brin took inspiration for the name Google from Gogol and voila, the strategy worked! A new name and a new beginning was all the founders needed for Google to get the much needed investors. Sun Microsystems co founder Andy Bechtolsheim was so impressed that after a quick demo of Google, he told the pair “Instead of us discussing all the details, why don’t I just write you a check?”
Bechtolsheim’s check was for $ 100,000 (made out to Google Inc) giving Page and Brin the much needed push toward success. The first two weeks after the founders got the check was quite an iconic one. With more than enough money in the bank, the duo opened their first office in Menlo Park, California. Post that, Google.com, a search engine that answered more than 10,000 questions a day, was launched.
History was created
Four years later, Page and Brin dropped the word beta from Google’s title and in 2001, Google finally filed and received a patent for its Ranking Technology! After that, there was no stopping Google and ever since, the search engine has changed the way the internet works. Interestingly, the first ever Google Doodle of the Burning Man was created to talk about the company’s motto, “Do No Evil.”
Google has come a long way, from being an accidental company to being one of the largest in the world. With exquisite patents to its name and extensive research at its hands, Google has definitely created a place for itself in the world of technology and innovation.
Blockchain Technology And How It Works
If you have been living anywhere but in Antartica or under the rock for the past year (and surprisingly surviving,) then you most definitely have heard of blockchain technology at least once in your life. An innovation so great and bizarre, sometimes described as the next greatest invention after the internet, blockchain technology broke the web when it surfaced at the beginning of the year.
What is blockchain?
There are several definitions one can give to blockchain as a term. The most popular ones being the following:
a) Don and Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution, describe blockchain as, “an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions, but virtually everything else.”
b) Steve Wilson of ZD Net described it as, “an algorithm and distributed data structure for managing electronic cash without a central administrator among people who know nothing about one another. Originally designed for the crypto-currency Bitcoin, the blockchain architecture was driven by a radical rejection of at (government-guaranteed) money and bank controlled payments.”
Complex to the very core, the only thing that comes out clearly from these definitions is that blockchain basically consists of digital ledger technology, which lets transactions be broken into individual ones. In simple words, blockchain is like your very own personal ledger which cannot be broken or looked into! You know like when you have a diary that keeps being read by other people? The creators of blockchain made this technology what it is today because it is protected by a unique distributed network.
What is the unique distributed network?
The creators of blockchain realised very early on that only having a strong sense of control was not enough to protect this new creation. They had to have backups (with backups for the backups) for when things go wrong, so that anonymity and information is not only protected, but secured as well.
Simply put, if you have digital money, you need a wallet. Unlike specific wallets like Paytm, blockchain technology is the publicly accessible digital wallet with unique individual identifiers. People who want to make transactions via blockchain need to send messages and in order to send these messages, the users need keys. To make sure no one else has access to these keys, the technology needs security, which comes in the form of cryptographic keys. These cryptographic keys are made by keygens, which use complex mathematical equations to ensure complete security. Thereby, through this process, blockchain is made extremely secure.
When I first heard the word blockchain, I did not really understand what it meant. There was so much ambiguity in the term for me that I had to do a lot of digging up and understanding! Hope this helped clear the air for you as well!
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