Archive for March, 2013
- BY ALEXANDER GEORGE
icture an assembly line not that isn’t made up of robotic arms spewing sparks to weld heavy steel, but a warehouse of plastic-spraying printers producing light, cheap and highly efficient automobiles.
If Jim Kor’s dream is realized, that’s exactly how the next generation of urban runabouts will be produced. His creation is called the Urbee 2 and it could revolutionize parts manufacturing while creating a cottage industry of small-batch automakers intent on challenging the status quo.
Urbee’s approach to maximum miles per gallon starts with lightweight construction – something that 3-D printing is particularly well suited for. The designers were able to focus more on the optimal automobile physics, rather than working to install a hyper efficient motor in a heavy steel-body automobile. As the Urbee shows, making a car with this technology has a slew of beneficial side effects.
Jim Kor is the engineering brains behind the Urbee. He’s designed tractors, buses, even commercial swimming pools. Between teaching classes, he heads Kor Ecologic, the firm responsible for the 3-D printed creation.
“We thought long and hard about doing a second one,” he says of the Urbee. “It’s been the right move.”
Kor and his team built the three-wheel, two-passenger vehicle at RedEye, an on-demand 3-D printing facility. The printers he uses create ABS plastic via Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The printer sprays molten polymer to build the chassis layer by microscopic layer until it arrives at the complete object. The machines are so automated that the building process they perform is known as “lights out” construction, meaning Kor uploads the design for a bumper, walk away, shut off the lights and leaves. A few hundred hours later, he’s got a bumper. The whole car – which is about 10 feet long – takes about 2,500 hours.
After a period of intensive discussion and collaboration, Derek Woodgate , President of The Futures Lab, Inc. and Maggie Duval, the CEO of Plutopia Productions Inc, have decided upon a merger of the two organizations under The Futures Lab, Inc. banner. The new business unit within The Futures Lab, Inc. is titled FEEL (Future Entertainment and Events Lab), will be located in Austin, Texas. This is an apt name given Derek’s extensive consulting, authoring and speaking work over the past decade on the future of entertainment, media and communications and his input as Chief Creative Officer at Plutopia Productions. Derek has become recognized as an authority on the application of emerging and immersive technologies and the changing human in the design and production of experiential entertainment with his creation of what are termed “Sense Events.” These multisensory, immersive, interactive events show in practice many of the wonderful, creative inventions and innovations that are under way to future‐proof and augment our future, with content often reflecting ideas resulting from The Futures Lab’s consulting assignments.
The Futures Lab, Inc is in it seventeenth year of operation and will continue its global consulting activities for a myriad of categories and world-renowned clients, extending its network both in terms of territories and personnel. With sister companies/partner offices now in eight countries and having conducted consulting work in over 20 countries worldwide, the new set up will enable FEEL to expand it services which include the creation, design, content acquisition, rendering, curation, production, implementation and marketing of future focused ‘sense events’ into new territories. Plutopia events in the US have always had an international character, involving artists from across the globe.
Maggie was CEO of Plutopia Productions for six years. In addition to the revolutionary five SXSWi and two SXSW Music related ‘sense events’ that she produced during that period, Maggie also created and produced Showdown at the Unobtainium: Tesla vs. Edison and numerous other events featuring famous futures-related speakers and performers, such as Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, Douglas Ruhskoff, etc.
Whilst most of the existing Plutopia Productions team will be integrated into FEEL, Maggie has already confirmed the addition of Randall Aretoo Squires as the Technical Producer. Randall was the technical producer on the Plutopia FutureMusic Summit 2012 and Maggie’s Showdown at the Unobtainium.
These changes coincide with Derek’s recent appointment as Consultant in Residence at DAEL: the Digital Arts and Entertainment Lab at Georgia State University.