Are children really more creative than their parents? Sure! But now what?

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If you search the first question on-line, you will see hundreds of sites concluding with a resounding, “Yes!” There will also be countless sites telling you how to encourage creativity in your children. (Here, one answer seems to be less schooling!) My questions then become: Why aren’t we taking more advantage of this creativity? Why aren’t there more child inventors? If a key characteristic in certain creative industries, like product design and IT, is to maintain a child-like imagination, then why can’t we just ask actual children?

Chester Greenwood (Age 15) – Earmuffs

Before you hit back with child labor laws, etc., here’s a story showing “10 Great Inventions Dreamt Up by Children.” Here’s another story with the title, “Crazy Kids’ Inventions Turned Into Real Products” with the video version here.

Cassidy Goldstein (Age 12) – Crayon Holders

WHY children are more creative

Out of all the research explaining WHY children are more creative than adults, the one I found the most compelling was by Alison Gopnik, psychology professor at Berkeley in this TED talk. She refers to the work of evolutionary biologists. Humans have an exceptionally long childhood to resolve the “intrinsic tension” between the need to finding the simplest, quickest solutions (adults) versus the need to explore to find alternative solutions (kids). (Any parent trying to get socks on their children will know what Gopnik means.) In short, evolution has designed humans to give them a chance to explore as children before maturing into efficient, problem solving machines as adults.

The next step

But getting back to my earlier questions, why aren’t we working more with children in the creative industries? (Wikipedia notes these nine but there are more.) In my view, one answer is likely the cost of innovation. R&D budgets can be a real drag on profitability for companies. They fund research staff as well the proto-typing. But I think you know what I will say next: 3D printing technology is lowering proto-typing costs. Now, anyone, including children, can also explore new design ideas.

Parents! It’s time to bond with our kids to see where their creativity can take us in the creative industries! Your child might be on a list of inventors in the near future.

More to come in upcoming blogs.

 

 

What if your child could become even more creative?

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Hi parents!

Has your child ever given you some jewelry made by himself? What a great moment, do you remember? How was this piece of jewelry? Did you like it? I am quite confident the answer is yes. Was it a necklace or a bracelet or a ring? Did you ever wear it at work or when you were outside for some activities of yours? Probably not. It was maybe too fragile or not very convenient to wear.

Have you ever researched on the internet about the subject “kids creating jewels?” If you do it, you will find many things. From noodles necklaces to Lego-like plastic parts to assemble the way kids want. In addition, some websites have services to create a copy of your little loved ones’ drawings in different kinds of metals.

It’s all very nice but now, you have a new and much more “brainy” way of creativity. He will be able to create exactly what he has in mind. In order to do that, he will have to learn some new tools. And he will have to think in a new way: the 3D thinking way.

 

Thanks to the 3D printing technology, it is now possible to give your kids the tool they were craving for. They will be able to 3D print their own jewels creations for you. It will be at the right size for you. It will be beautiful and easy to wear. You will enjoy it much more than before because, this time, you will be able to wear it and show it at work or when you participate to your leisure activities.

First, your kids have to break one more creativity limit. 3D modelling software are here to help toward this progress. And we, at 3D Roundhouse, are here to teach your children and you how to use these new and fun creativity tools. We can do it online or in real life during our workshops.

Now is the time to have brainy fun. Email us (workshop@3droundhouse.com) to register to our brand new 3D Printing Jewelry Creation Workshop. As you already know, places are limited. Reserve your seats now to enjoy a family brainy fun.

See you in our next workshop!

3D printing + licensing deal = ticket into a top university?

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OK this topic about licensing will likely result in quite a few blogs, so I’ll start with a series of questions to set the stage.

  1. Are children really more creative than their parents?
  2. Can we parents work with them to invent a new product using 3D printing to prototype?
  3. Would a manufacturer really accept our idea and how do we protect it?
  4. Can my child really earn his own college fund?
  5. Would a licensing deal help if and when our child applies to university?

Out of this list, I think most of you will agree that the final question is the easiest to answer. Of course a university admissions board would welcome a child who played a leading role in a product idea that has been successfully sold to a manufacturer. They might even offer the child a scholarship based on ingenuity and leadership. Universities are centers of cutting edge research and advance thinking. If your child can demonstrate creativity that’s also proven commercially viable, universities would certainly embrace him or her with open arms. It’s a natural fit.

The other questions, however, will need more time to answer. I’ll explore the world of licensing in the coming blogs and report back to you. (What I’ve seen so far seems promising!)

Before I end this blog, let me say this: 3D printing can play a big role in this process because you can design as many prototypes as you want using freely available 3D modeling software. (We just added the very powerful Fusion 360 into our Starter Kit.) If you want your design 3D printed but don’t have a printer, just search on line for the nearest 3D printing service bureau. You can send them the file and they can send you your prototype in a few days or even sooner. This is the WHOLE POINT of 3D printing; the power of creating new products is now in the hands of the people, not necessarily controlled by big corporations. More to come!

Has Michelin just created something great using 3D printing technology?

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Today, I just want to give you an update about an industry that was quite conservative until one day the 3D printing revolution took off.

Your kids would love it if it was already available. So much funnier than the regular ones.

What is the common point between your car, your bicycle and the pair of roller your kids like so much? Yes, the wheels. And that’s the expertise area of Michelin, the tire manufacturer. Like all the big player in this industry (Michelin ranks year after year in the top three), it is doing intensive research for the future using 3D printing technology.

I already wrote an article about the Good Year project using 3D printing. Amazing concept but, in my opinion, quite far in the future to reach the market. Michelin has a less revolutionary approach but is also really creative and much more pragmatic. The idea is to commercialize a wheel with no air, designed to last as long as your car (and maybe, one day, bicycle, rollers…).

The tread of the wheel could be 3D printed when it is excessively worn out or when a different kind of tire could be required for your safety, for example in snowy conditions.

Dear dads and mums, please bear in mind that everything you see that has been unchanged for so many years could be challenged by the 3D printing revolution. Play with your children and try to imagine what all the things around you could become if you could 3D print them. Challenge them and ask them to challenge you. In the future, the only limits will be the ones our kids will have when they will have grown up. If we do a good parent’s “job”, it should be very interesting and creative.

Have a great day!

Five reasons why learning 3D printing today will help children prepare for the future

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In my earlier blogs, I covered the advice of education leaders Salman Khan, Founder of the Khan Academy, and Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, founder of the Centre for Bits & Atoms (CBA) at MIT. They both encourage discovery and creativity. Dr. Gershenfeld specifically noted the expressiveness of 3D printing. Now I want to add my own five reasons why learning 3D printing today will help children get ready for their own technology infused future.

  1. Getting a head start as the tech will “mature” about the time our children enter the workforce. 3D printers are just beginning to make usable parts. HP’s long awaited Multi-Jet Fusion technology just hit the market this year. Its thermoplastic material, which you can see in this video, is strong enough to pick up a car. In 10-15 years time, 3D printers will be far more advanced, likely linked to AI software, but still in need of the human touch. This is where and when our children will take the controls.
  2. It will be used in many different industries. Automotive, medical, electronics, toys, even food are just a few examples. Let your child design something today from any of these industries and perhaps they can find something they love for a lifetime! If you don’t try it, you’ll never know.

3D Roundhouse’s Family 3D Printing Workshops

  1. 3D designs help children think out of the box. Children are naturals at creating pictures with crayons and paper. Imagine how much more creative they can be if that design is in 3D instead. On top of this, they can realize their designs on a 3D printer.
  2. It can promote teamwork. While I really enjoy reinforcing the bond I have with my daughter whenever we corroborate on a new design, I believe she is also learning about teamwork. I have my own strengths and weaknesses and she has her own. We try different ideas until we get to the desired result. (OK I admit most of the 3D prints end up in her favorite pink color, but I think it’s just a phase!)

Elizabeth’s pink bow

  1. It helps them define their own likes and dislikes. 3D printing is all about customization. As children grow, it’s sometimes difficult to know what’s favorable to them and what’s not. Using a computer to design an actual object, children can run as many trials and errors as they want, until they find their very own sweet spot. Self-definition is a key part of growing up. As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true!”

Hi parents! Hurry up! Tell all your friends that 3D printing will be everywhere soon!

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I am not joking. Those who realize this too late will have missed opportunities to grow businesses, or at the very least, their mind. If you know people with kids, call them! Send them social medial messages or a good old email (always very useful) to tell them that at 3D Roundhouse we teach exactly that: 3D modeling for 3D printing. It is a new way of thinking: 3D thinking. It is a very powerful exercise for your brain, and those of your kids (Science and math genius use it all the time)!

MASS PRODUCTION OF 3D PRINTED SHOES IS COMING IN 2017!

Do you find me a little bit pushy? Do you? Let me tell you what’s happening right now: mass production of 3D printed shoes. What? It is not a mistake. Your eyes have read it right: mass production of 3D printed shoes. My dear 3D Roundhouse faithful readers, you certainly remember my article about 3D printed shoes a few months ago. Only the heels could be printed to personalize ladies’ shoes in some retail stores.

A few weeks ago, I wrote another article about a company I like very much: Carbon. At that time, they had just released their first 3D printing mass production system. And you know what? Adidas is using the Carbon mass production system to 3D print the entire sole of a new sport shoe model: the Futurecraft 4D. (See accompanying photos) This running shoe was presented as a concept in 2015. It will be mass produced this very year. Thanks to the DLS (Digital Light Synthesis) technology developed by Carbon, Adidas can 3D print a very sophisticated sole in one piece. I love this technology. It plays with oxygen and light to solidify many kinds of materials (mainly polymers). It is amazingly fast, clean, strong and accurate. 5,000 pairs of shoes will be commercialized before the end of this year. And more than 100,000 pairs will be made in 2018.

3D PRINTED FABRIC WILL COME FAST TOO!

A little bit further from the consumer world (maybe not for an extended period of time), The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, just published the result of their latest 3D printed creation: space aged chain-mail. This incredible creation will have many applications. The inside can absorb heat; the outside can reflect heat and light. It could protect both space vehicles and astronauts.

If they find a way to 3D print it with a mixture of nanobots, they could create a soft fabric easily foldable and transportable that could become really stiff and take any shapes on demand. The nanobots would give this space fabric the exact shape required by the situation. If I am on a trip on Mars with my son and need to build a hard cover to protect some outside equipment from a sand storm or I am outside myself and have no time to go back to my vehicle, it could be really handy to have this kind of amazing fabric.

You could even add 3D printed solar cells on top and incorporate micro batteries on the bottom to store the energy. I could easily imagine dozens of applications.

Did you know some scientists believe that we will 3D print fabrics when we can print at the micron level (each layer being one millionth of a meter thick)? It will come fast. You will get the exact dress or jacket you have in your mind. Chances are that you will order it using voice commands. An AI (artificial intelligence) entity will take care of every step from the modeling to the delivery a few hours later (maybe a few minutes!). A drone will land right at your door or where you will need to wear this tailor-made masterpiece for the meeting or rendezvous of your life.

3D THINKING IS THE WAY TO GO!

As you can see, things are changing faster than most people think. So, hurry! Spread the word:

3D modeling for 3D printing could help your kids and friends anticipate the change in a much easier way. And there will be so many benefits from it!

Love them or fear them, we parents need to keep an eye on them robots

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My six-year-old daughter will likely join the workforce in the next 15 years or so. Of course, it’s not a good thing to over-manage neither her life nor her career, but what’s a parent to do when we see recent headlines like these about robots?

Economist magazine: Will robots displace humans as motorised vehicles ousted horses?

BBC: Robots to affect up to 30% of UK jobs, says PwC.

 

Love them or fear them, robots are here to stay and their abilities are growing exponentially. We are already seeing early versions of self-driving cars, delivery drones on land and in the air, and, yes, robotic baby sitters.

The PwC report provided some details with these statistics.

– 30% of existing jobs in the UK were potentially at a high risk of automation, compared with 38% in the US, 35% in Germany and 21% in Japan.

– Jobs at high risk from automation:

Transportation and storage – 56%

Manufacturing – 46%

Wholesale and retail trade – 44%

Administrative and support services – 37%

Financial and insurance – 32%

Professional, scientific and technical – 26%

Construction – 24%

Arts and entertainment – 22%

Agriculture, forestry and fishing – 19%

Human health and social work – 17%

Education – 9%

Source: PwC

 

Both reports and articles stressed the importance of educating the workforce to ensure future workers can find jobs. But as a parent of a six-year-old, here are some simple actions that I’m doing, for and with my daughter in the coming years:

  1. Keep an eye on the latest developments. Wherever you source your news, spend at least a few hours a week looking through the science and technology section. If you have not been doing this, you will be very surprised what you come across!
  1. Attend STEAM events with your family. Family friendly STEAM fairs are now available in cities around the world with hundreds of thousands of attendees during these multi-day events. One of the biggest is the Maker Faire, but many schools run science fairs as well. Kids love the hands-on workshops. (In fact, we at 3D Roundhouse will have another booth at the Hong Kong Maker Faire this Saturday and Sunday April 8-9, 2017!)
  1. Take some STEAM workshops with your child. Whether it’s coding, robotics or 3D printing, there is no reason why parents can’t also learn along with their children. Over the past year, 3D Roundhouse has hosted dozens of workshops where parents and their children learn 3D modeling for 3D printing together. You can learn more about our workshops here.

Personally, I believe our children will find peaceful ways to coexist with robots. But as parents, we need to ensure our children can develop the wisdom to use this new technology in a proper and responsible way. The best way to do so is to understand what robots are and how they work. Working with your children to become more knowledgeable about the STEAM fields is a really great way to do so.

“3D printing can be as expressive as painting.”

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So says Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics professor and founder of the Centre for Bits & Atoms (CBA) in this SCMP article.

Parents! Please take a moment to consider this extremely profound statement by one of the leading technology thinkers of our time. (The New York Times has dubbed Dr. Gershenfeld as “the intellectual godfather of the maker movement.”)

CBA

Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Our children spend countless hours engaged in various forms of painting – first finger, then brush, on paper, canvas, pottery, toys, etc. Why? Because painting has been an excellent and intuitive way for children to define and express themselves. In fact, this has been the case since our ancestors lived in caves!

But with 3D printing, we now have a more streamlined tool to help us move beyond 2D to “paint” in 3D. It’s a huge change! First, just by adding the third dimension, 3D printing allows our children to extend their imagination beyond the two dimensional limitations of a typical flat sheet of paper. Second, as 3D printers improve with lower costs and newer materials, children can consider material as well as color in their creations. Here, 3D printing even surpasses sculpting, which is mainly in one material. Finally, we have already witnessed 3D prints that cannot be made by traditional manufacturing methods, such as this sculpture in the photo below.

A woman stands behind the a 3D printed sculptur ‘Myrstaw’ by Belgian designer Nick Ervinck during the international fairs FabCon 3.D and Rapid.Tech in Erfurt, central Germany, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. 145 exhibitors from all over the world present their products until June 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Given this, can 3D printing be EVEN MORE expressive than painting? How can we use this new tool to help our children reach their full potential? And most importantly, how many of those paintings hanging on refrigerators can be replaced by even more intricate 3D prints? 😉 We should wholly support our children to see!

How are your child’s “portfolios of creative works” coming along?

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Quora, the website where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users, recently sent a series of questions to Salman Khan, Founder of the Khan Academy, on the very important issue of education. Here is one of the questions I found the most relevant to my own situation, as I have a six year old child, where he mentions “portfolios of creative works.”

How will education change in the next 10 years?

Competency Based Credentials

Today’s high school and college diplomas are based more on how much time you spent in class rather than what you are actually capable of. This is why colleges and employers see so little information in traditional diplomas/transcripts and, instead, turn to things like standardized exams, peer assessment and portfolios of creative work.

I think that in 10 years, you will have globally recognized credentials that are independent of any individual academic institution. In order to achieve them, you need to prove skill competency, have great peer reviews, and have an impressive portfolio (I believe that you should have a portfolio regardless of what you want to do in life).

 

Building “portfolios of creative works” makes a lot of sense to me, particularly the “creative” part. I think most parents, myself included, hope their child can develop into his or her own person. There should be a strong sense of self worth and independent thinking as he or she builds some type of career. Given this, I also think 3D modeling and 3D printing could be an excellent tool to create such portfolios!

Imagine how a college or job application would stand out if a child has a portfolio of 3D printed product prototypes, which she has worked on for the last 5-10 years. Each item would have its own evolution story where the child could explain herself. The items can be from different industries – for a school application – or one specific industry – for a job application. If the job is in a service industry, the creative aspect of the portfolio can be reviewed. But ultimately and most importantly, this “portfolio of creative works” would be an excellent tool for both interviewer and interviewee to see if they are suitable for each other. Thanks Mister Khan for your excellent idea!

 

Can the Off switch be the best way to deal with rising technology?

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Over the holidays, I proposed this idea to a friend of mine who has a six year old daughter as I do, “If robots are going to take over our childrens’ jobs in the future, we should make sure our children maintain their sense of creativity to stay one step ahead. 3D printing is one great way to do that because anyone can express their creativity through the 3D models.” She replied, “When I hear you say that, my initial reaction is to turn all the machines off and revert to farming!”

Thinking Robot — Image by © Blutgruppe/Corbis

In a sense, she is correct. We’ve already seen the Open Letter on Artificial Intelligence published in early 2015 when Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and many other leading thinkers in the tech field publicly voiced the opinion that AI could provide great benefits, but could also end the human race if used unwisely.

Fortunately, the letter resulted in the October 2016 funding and opening of the Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI) at Cambridge, where its researchers, including Hawking himself, will strive to this goal: “to work together to ensure that we humans make the best of the opportunities of artificial intelligence as it develops over coming decades.” Hopefully, they can set the guidelines that can help us avoid those worse case scenarios that they raised in the prior year.

Getting back to our six year old daughters, perhaps the best strategy is a little of each. Our children obviously need to get familiar with the STEAM subjects, because their livelihood could depend greatly on their grasp of these subjects. But there’s nothing wrong with just turning off the machines every once in a while to understand something as simple and important as how we get our nutrition. It’s a balance and that balancing act is one of the most important lessons we should give our children. I think even the researchers at the new CFI would totally agree.