COLUMN: Letter from the editors
By Jennifer Jacobs
The gears of the medical droid whir as its mechanical arms work nimbly to replace the human’s hand severed with a new, robotic one. As the human waits, her gaze wanders out the viewport of the huge, 1200 meter-long spaceship, taking in the infinite field of stars beyond. If this scene reminds you of a galaxy far, far away, think again. Advances in digital fabrication may soon bring not only customized prosthetics, but habitable cosmic structures within the realm of possibility. This issue of XRDS focuses on how computer-controlled fabrication promises to revolutionize the way we think about how things are "made." Also discussed are issues that arise in making machines that make. How do we ensure the sustainability of a future where millions of computers are churning out physical products? Where does personal creativity fit into this? These questions—social, technological, and artistic—and more—are addressed within these pages.
By Jennifer Jacobs
By XRDS Staff
By Stefanie Mueller, Nadya Peek
By Andy J. Hunsucker
By David Byrd
By Jack Minardi
By Jay Patel
The XRDS blog highlights a range of topics from conference coverage, to security and privacy, to CS theory. Selected blog posts, edited for print, are featured in every issue. Please visit xrds.acm.org/blog to read each post in its entirety. If you are interested in joining as a student blogger, please contact us.
By Andrew J. Hunsucker
Artistic style is an important aspect for creative practice. However giving away some computational control over digital design and fabrication is necessary in order to engage designers in a higher-risk practice that enhances attention, creative decision making, and product ownership.
By Amit Zoran
Fully automated digital fabrication tools are the darling of the personal fabrication movement, but they may not be the best format for harnessing digital fabrication for personal use. Instead we should be developing tools that work cooperatively with users to augment natural abilities rather than eliminate human involvement altogether.
By Ilan Moyer
Making the design and production of animated, mechanical characters accessible to the public.
By Stelian Coros
Despite the recent proliferation of easy-to-use personal fabrication devices, designing custom objects that are useful remains challenging. RFID technology can allow designers to easily embed rich and robust interaction in custom creations at low cost.
By Andrew Spielberg, Alanson Sample, Scott E. Hudson, Jennifer Mankoff, James McCann
Today's 3-D printing hobbyists churn out kilos of static trinkets. These existing machines can further help them create functional objects, if new perspectives and designs are employed.
By Valkyrie Savage
3-D printed objects made of fabric could be flexible and deformable, bringing possibilities to new sensors and actuators.
By Huaishu Peng, Scott Hudson, Jennifer Mankoff, James McCann
After three decades of digitally fabricating the world's wildest architecture, Zahner's R&D team discuss trials, tribulations, and a path to personalized production.
By James Coleman, Craig Long, Andrew Manto, Trygve Wastvedt
File formats for additive manufacturing are lagging behind the capabilities of 3-D printing technology itself, and no one is doing anything about it.
By Jesse Louis-Rosenberg
Huge, habitable structures in space are a staple of science fiction, but digital materials could make them a reality.
By Daniel Cellucci, Kenneth C. Cheung
3-D printing could herald new advances in sustainable production, that is, so long as it does not become a sustainability hazard itself.
By David Rejeski
Lost your hand in a lightsaber fight? No problem, we can fix that. Rapid and consumer-grade fabrication tools could revolutionize the way we design and deliver assistive technologies.
By Erin Buehler
By Feras Alsaggaf, Javier Villarroel, Billy Wong
By Asmaa Rabie
By Marinka Zitnik