Logo for 3D printing is (almost) here

Reading: “Personal Dynamic Media” by Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg.  Computer 10(3):31-41. March 1977.  Available as a sample chapter from the New Media Reader.

Here, Kay and Goldberg describe the potential of their Dynabook to influence the lives of any person as a creative and educational outlet.  I am impressed that they have users from a range of ages and expertise levels, from children to professional animators and musicians.  In the late 60s, they began to study how children interact with technology:

At that time we became interested in focusing on children as our “user community.”  We were greatly encouraged by the Bolt Beranek and Newman/MIT Logo work that uses a robot turtle that draws on paper, a CRT version of the turtle, and a single music generator to get kids to program.

Logo instructions to make a square. Link.

If you don’t know what Logo is, you are missing out.  It is a programmable turtle icon that can move around a plane and draw lines according to pre-programmed instructions.  I loved this guy in my childhood – in fact, I didn’t realize that I had ever programmed before college since this was more of a “game” than a “computer program.”  Ed Price from Microsoft has a nice history of the Logo turtle.

Our task for the seminar was to share a nugget and/or app that fulfills Key and Goldberg’s predictions.  I am amazed by how relevant many themes from this seminar remain.  Just this week I read a blog post about Madeup, developed by Chris Johnson at University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.  It is basically Logo for 3D printing.  With a few simple commands, we can build blocks, tubes, and other shapes that can be printed on a 3D printer.  Well, it’s not completely done yet – there are still 34 days to go for his Kickstarter campaign.

Screenshot from Kickstarter video.


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