3D Printing: A Prototype for the Future

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Photo courtesy of: Gizmodo.com

In the 1985 movie, Weird Science, we were first introduced to the futuristic concept of a three-dimensional prototype by two high school boys creating their 'perfect' girl from a doll and a computer. While at the time, this concept may have seemed quite far-fetched, technology has more recently lent itself to an equally amazing and real-life concept: three-dimensional printing.

In the technology and design world, three-dimensional (3D) printing is a strikingly hot topic, an idea that has more recently taken shape, so to speak. Its roots don't stem from a new concept, yet it was not widely recognized by the mainstream up until the past few years. Now it's forever changing the face of technology in the medical world and making a splash in the consumer space in the form of prototypical fashions, home goods, toys and other items.

For those who may not be sure how 3D printing works, here's the lowdown:

Three dimensional printing, also known as desktop fabrication - uses special 3D drafting software that lets the user create a digital concept drawing of their desired object and creates a real-life prototype of said object, using materials like plastic, metal, nylon, wax, and even chocolate (yes, chocolate) and building it layer by layer. Other materials like full-color sandstone can be used to produce just about any color in the rainbow when applied to a 3D object.

The Original Concept

The technology was first developed by Charles Hull in the 1980's, and is finally being applied to inanimate objects like fashions, home goods, toys and even medical prototypes that can be used to create life-saving prosthetic devices, human-like organ concepts for medical surgeries and astonishingly accurate medical models used to teach med students about the human body.

The process of 3D printing is still fairly new to the fashion world, but it can be used to create fashion-forward, recyclable clothing prototypes that are slated to eliminate the issue of finding a person's correct clothing size, as items can be molded and shaped to fit a person's exact dimensions, offering a look that is more tailored to the consumer. 3D printing has also dabbled in other areas such as: working table lamps, jewelry and children's toys, to name a few.

According to last week's article in Retailing Today, a few select Staples stores are also implementing the 3D printing experience to consumers in major cities like New York and Los Angeles, helping to bring their personally-designed 3D creations to life.

Appealing to Buyers

Three-dimensional printers can be purchased by consumers, but some come with a hefty price tag. Some models go for $100, up to $6,000+, depending on the printer's capabilities.

If 3D printing technology continues to advance at its current rapid pace, consumers and members of the medical community should have much to gain with the prototypical innovations likely to pop up over the next few years.

What do you think of 3D printing technology and its advances? We'd love to hear your comments below:

 

 

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Targeting the Social Shopper: Millennials

shopper

What can we learn from the millennial shopper?

The word "selfie" appeared as the word of the year in late 2013 (according to the Oxford Dictionary) - further highlighting our obsession with apps like Instagram and other social media as a whole. Though many companies use digital and social media to reach baby boomers, perhaps they need to expand their focus a bit and beam in on millennials - those often described as being born between 1980-something and the early 2000s.

According to a recent article in Food Business News, Nielsen says that millennials (aka, Generation Y) are a group of 77 million and responsible for a potential $200 billion in consumer spending, gaining momentum as they become further established in their careers. This should allow for millennials to guide the consumer market for a long time to come.

So, what can we learn and use by studying the millennial shopper? A few things to start:

They want value: With the emergence of Groupon and other sites offering daily deals straight to your email inbox or better yet, accessed by the tap of a smartphone app, millennials know how to shop smarter and are used to getting the 'why pay full price?' experience, a trend not likely to change anytime soon.

They take it personally: Customization is becoming the new "it" approach and has taken consumerism to a new level. Millennials seem especially receptive to business offerings like Birchbox, a nifty monthly subscription service that sends out customized beauty and personal care/grooming boxes packed with unique product samples based on a personal needs/wants survey. Other companies are also hopping on the bandwagon, providing customized jewelry, handbags and shoes (to name a few) handpicked each month for the subscriber, based on their answers to a few determining questions.

They 'social'ize: Millennials expect brands to be on top of their game when it comes to social media by staying involved in what's new and on trend, or be left in the dust. Gen Y also tends to be a very plugged in and tech savvy bunch and most likely to voice their needs/wants via social media platforms. They seem to value feedback and trust the online opinions of others commonly expressed by others in the social realm.

Continuous high demand from millennial shoppers can open the door to a more tailor-made consumer experience for us all, in turn, providing a better, more customer-focused approach that brands everywhere can leverage.

 

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Has Facebook Advertising Gotten Out of Control?

We've all heard of it, most of us use it, and the majority of us can't get enough of it. So why wouldn't companies and businesses reap the rewards of such pragmatic advertising space? Is Facebook really allowing advertising to get out of control, or is it just another scroll of the finger for Facebook users?

It seems logical, smart even, to get your ad in front of Facebook's 1.1 billion users. Recently I read an article on Forbes.com outlining the out of control spiral Facebook was falling into concerning the amount of advertising it was allowing onto their site. In fact, this April, Facebook started making headway in its push to increase sales via mobile devices, by offering advertisers even more ways to reach people over wireless devices.

In recent months, we have all noticed the new ads that have started to infiltrate our News Feed, masking themselves cleverly as Posts. Because, let's face it, so many of our friends are sharing articles and pictures and that undoubtedly hilarious YouTube video these days, those pesky ads just seem to fit right in! And of course we've all become accustomed to the slew of ads that live on the right side of your browser screen, catered specifically to you because of the pages you've chosen to "like" over the years. But let's be honest, we've all pretty much accepted these by now.

Is this too much advertising to deal with?

Is this too much advertising to deal with?

My question to you is, does this really matter? Does the addition of these ads really affect your user experience in such a negative way; and are you really going to stop using our beloved Facebook because these ads are being suggested to you?

My initial reaction to this question was … No; I really don't think these ads haveAthat negative of an impact on me as a user. That being said, I think Facebook is starting to slide down a slippery slope. If they continue to cater to the advertiser and not so much to the user, there may come a day when the social networking world starts to flock to other sites that have created a more welcoming social environment.

I'm curious; do you think that day will come any time soon? Is there a line that exists for you as a Facebook user, and if Facebook does indeed cross that line, will you be willing to give it up?

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Is Social Media Vital to Your Website Traffic?

Most of us agree that in today's world, social media is more important than ever to your business; but the real question is, how important is it?

A recent report by Forrester Research, Inc., How Consumers Find Websites in 2010, suggests that in the not too distant future, social media may drive more traffic to your website than search engines. While most people in the United States still rely on their favorite search engine to find what they're looking for, more and more users are beginning to turn to social media platforms as an avenue to discovering new websites.

How do you search for information?

How do you search for information?

According to the report, in 2012, 50% of all Internet users between the ages of 18 and 23 chose to use social networks as their primary internet-discovery resource.

As the digital world continues grow and evolve, social media is playing a much larger role in the discovery of brands and businesses then it ever has before. I'm curious to know, what social media platforms do you believe are a must-have in today's world? Have you ever been turned off by a new brand (or an old favorite) because they haven't been keeping up with the times?

Weigh in with your opinion; we'd love to hear it!

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Website Design - The Parallax Effect

Web developers are now implementing what is called the parallax effect to enhance site design and navigation. In design terms, the parallax effect was first used decades ago in classic video games like SuperMario World. It has now resurfaced and has changed the way we approach not only design, but also scrolling and overall site navigation.

The effect creates a sense of depth or faux-3D through the use of multiple background images that seem to be moving in different directions and speeds. It adds visual interest to the world of flat, two dimensional computer monitors. Vertical scrolling can be used to guide consumers through content in an organized and strategic sequence. Not to mention, the design lends itself to promoting hero product images in a unique and cool way.

Parallax is derived from the Greek parallaxis, meaning "a change". It is defined as the effect of an object appearing differently when viewed from various positions. Astronomers use the parallax effect to measure the distance between celestial objects. At Lundmark, we use the parallax effect to make functional and interesting websites.

To view an example, visit the Lundmark designed site for ColorScents.

Parallax Web Design by Lundmark

Parallax Web Design by Lundmark

 

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