by Idoya Lahortiga and Luk Cox of somersault18:24 and Shapeways Crew members
3D printing is a disruptive technology, it allows you to spread awareness about almost anything, including science. We’ll show you how we do it in this field, because that is our area of expertise, but it holds true for every other industry you’re in.
Awareness starts at knowing something exists and ranges all the way up to full comprehension. It is a funnel. The more people will be aware, the more will end up understanding the subject matter deeply.
Astrocyte pendant by somersault18:24
Let’s take the internet as an example. It is something we’re all aware of, otherwise we couldn’t even read this blog post, but a few of us truly understand the fine details of this technology, how it really works. This is the awareness funnel at work.
Nevertheless we all understand the importance of the internet, no matter where you are in the funnel. This underlines the necessity to spread awareness about things you care about. We can only value things if we are aware about them.
You can make people aware of things by integrating it in their daily lives. If the technology of the internet would have stayed in the military environment, where it was invented, not many of us would have been using the internet today, we simple wouldn’t be aware of it.
Science is something we’re all aware of, but the funnel narrows very fast. Everybody knows it exists, but for most people it stops there. It doesn’t penetrate into our daily lives. The slope is too steep.
As a consequence science has an image problem. Science is often seen as boring, too difficult, for a selected few, far away from our own world. But the truth is that is fascinating, beautiful and closer to our hearts than we might realize. Moreover if we could adopt a scientific mindset and think following the scientific method of experimenting and testing, we could thrive in many other aspects of our life.
Phylogenetic Tree pendant by somersault18:24
At somersault18:24 we care very much about this. We are scientists for as long as we can remember and want to give science the attention it deserves. For obvious reasons we adopt to the scientific method and go step by step. A key step in this process was the implementation of 3D printing of science-inspired jewelry.
We decided to start spreading awareness via scientist like ourselves. But instead of motivating them to talk about their passion and spread the word, we turned things around. What if we could motivate laymen to engage with scientists and show interest in the first place, wouldn’t that work much better?
But how? That is when 3D printing of science-inspired jewelry comes into play. Everybody wears jewelry, even scientists. We wear it to look nice and beautiful, we wear it for ourselves to be different and unique. We wear it to get noticed. BANG! or “Eureka!” as you wish. What if we could give dedicated scientists jewelry and accessories symbolizing their passion? Their friends will notice it and possibly comment on it or ask what it is. Now the scientist has the perfect entry to engage more people into this fascinating world.
But we had a problem, one that was not so easy to overcome. How could we make the jewelry with no expertise nor skills in jewelry manufacturing whatsoever? 3D printing was the solution. It is rather simple for everyone to build computer generated designs these days. Personally we use Blender, a free open source 3D modeling package. It takes a bit of practice to get the hold of it, but certainly worth the effort.
Neuron pendant by somersault18:24
The possibilities are endless. There is so many beauty in science that is often unexplored. Take for example this neuron pendant. We have billions of neurons in our own body, but if you’re not a scientist familiar with the subject, you were not able to appreciate its beauty… until now.
This type of jewelry certainly also has its place in the fundraising to combat diseases. We believe that it is a very efficient method to spread awareness about these topics too.
So, if you have a passion, a cause or you are on a mission to spread awareness. Think about the fascinating possibilities of 3D printing next time.
How did you create your “Eureka!” moment?