An open source app called Blender does the hard work of computing the relief’s geometry. Blender is used mostly by the animation film industry, and thanks to integrated scripting and robust physical simulation, it’s perfect for the project’s needs. Blender sends the data back to the 3dprinter on the FABMOBs rig where the model is immediately printed.
This simple solution has big ambitions: to develop a far reaching platform giving everybody, not just geeks, the opportunity to experiment with the potential of digital fabrication and environmental sensors. We want the platform to be capable of realizing any project that involves printing, sensors and the environment. If you’re an artist working on the bleeding edge, a serious Maker searching for inspiration for creative mashups, or a father and son (or mother and daughter) looking for interesting weekend projects for the 3d-printer that’s already sitting in your basement , FABMOBs will have a solution for you. We want to make the FABMOBs platform into a robust network that CAN make a difference in the 3Dprinting space.
We use either portable generators, municipal energy sources (when available), and for the ATMOStag project, we used the energy plugs in vehicles in Paris’s electric car sharing service, that is widely available in the region.
A FABMOBs rig is a mash-up of hardware, software and network connections enabling the fabrication of an atmosphere. Sensors, 3Dprinters and mobile power sources are connected using open-source Arduino development boards for communication, calculation and control; they are linked at their source, which is why they they play so nicely together. The wireless 4g and proprietary networks that blanket our cities and suburbs, move the data from sensor to printer via an online API. A lightweight, portable solar panel connected to a rechargeable battery, powers the sensor. The Smart Citizen is always capturing and sending data to a server using mobile networks. Pieces of that data are automatically requested by the software that will generate the 3d model, which is used to fabricate an ATMOStag object.
The nascent FABMOBs community is built from the convergence of two existing ones:
- from the Maker community, those who are already using 3d printers, and
- from the Smart Citizens, people already experimenting with technologically mediated, environmental activism.