Here’s another post celebrating the wonders of 3D printing. We already know pretty much anything can be 3D printed, so these stories are largely about people imagining something new and awesome to make, which is happening more and more. Our aspirations for 3D printing are becoming bigger and more complex — NASA’s using one in space and will soon be using Contour Crafting technology to print structures on the moon. But before that happens, it seems reasonable to practice 3D printing some houses here on Earth, which Shanghai’s WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Company has just done, putting up 10 3D-printed houses in Shanghai in under 24 hours.
Lock the chevrons in place…
The future is history.
Let’s see what’s out there on the horizon.
Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth installment of Michael Bay’s lucrative giant robot franchise, doesn’t even open until the end of June, but that doesn’t mean that Paramount and Hasbro aren’t going to go ahead and pencil-in another one. That makes sense, the previous three movies have netted the studio and toy manufacturer multiple billions of dollars, and we all know Age of Extinction will earn a pretty penny, too. Whatever the fifth chapter winds up being called, it is tentatively slated to open in 2017. When you’re basically printing your own money, you can plan this far in advance.
Nothing is official, but according to a leaked promotional schedule, it certainly looks like there are plans for Transformers 5 to drop in the second quarter three years from now. Everything else on this picture appears pretty accurate—the first trailer for Age of Extinction hit in the first quarter, the movie will actually open in quarter three, and the Blu-ray and DVD will most likely be on the shelves just in time for the holiday season at the end of the year.
I’m no Felix Baumgartner, but I have been skydiving, once. It was, of course, incredible, and the most intense and disparate mix of emotions and brain signals I’ve ever received at one time. When you’re up there in the plane, every muscle in your body, every thought in your head, urges you to do anything but throw yourself out the open door. You naturally fight death, which is what your brain naturally thinks will happen when you fall into the sky. But you go anyway, mostly because you’re strapped to a skydiving instructor who’s pushing you from behind and won’t let you wuss out or stall. For the first ten seconds, it feels like your head is going to explode in a mixture of fear, adrenaline, cognitive dissonance, and more. Sheer exhilaration takes over, at which point you realize this is the most fun you’ve ever had doing anything. Until a meteorite clocks you in the head. Luckily, that last part didn’t happen to me. You wouldn’t think it could happen to anyone had I not seen a video of Anders Helstrup, a Norwegian skydiver who barely escaped a collision with the cosmic debris.
Wally Pfister’s artificial intelligence adventure Transcendence is less than two weeks away, and the closer we get, the more information we’re getting. There have been posters, viral videos, and photos galore, and while yesterday brought us a new TV spot, today we have seven, yes seven new clips from the film.
Pfister’s directorial debut follows Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) as he tries to advance AI to a point where it will eclipse all human intellect. That’s a terrifying prospect, to be sure—how many times have we seen such technology run amok on TV and in movies—and there are, understandably, segments of the population that are less than enthusiastic about what others view as progress in this arena. When a radical anti-tech group attempts to assassinate Will in order to stop his research, his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max (Paul Bettany) upload his consciousness into a super computer. Once inside, his intellect and power grows exponentially, until he’s on the verge of taking over, like Lawnmower Man, but hopefully with better special effects.
From the time I first learned to read, all the way through to my eventually moving out for college, my imagination was sparked and shaped by my dad’s shelves of old science fiction books. I burned through paperbacks with names like Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton and Isaac Asimov on their covers. But some of the most distinct memories I have are of poring over a book called Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD, marveling at the gorgeous spaceship art and dreaming that someday I might see their like spreading out through the solar system. (I may be more cynical these days, but I still cling to those dreams.) So when I ran across a pair of CGI short films based on the book, I was instantly transported back to being eight years old again.
Neither the fact that J.J. Abrams is keeping secrets, nor the fact that Disney is playing Star Wars: Episode VII close to the vest, should be surprising. That’s standard operating procedure on both fronts. What is surprising, if these latest reports are in fact true, is how well, in today’s hyperaware landscape, they were able to pull it off. Apparently production has already started on the return to that far away galaxy, and they are filming right now. The cast may not be finalized, but that isn’t going to stop them from putting images on film.
We expected production to start soon—the Internet scuttlebutt has been saying May for the last few months—but in a recent interview with THR, Disney Studio Chairman Alan Horn let the news slip. While discussing the casting process, and how much, though not all, of the main pieces are in place, Horn said, in an offhand aside, “We’re actually shooting some of it now.” He didn’t say anything more than that, but that’s enough to get us all chattering.