With all of the hype surrounding 3D printing it is sometimes difficult to hear about the true promise of 3D printing like artificial limbs and many more life changing examples in addition to the powerful transformational changes it will do for manufacturing. Here is one example of a 3D print being used in a disaster site and making a real difference for people. 3D printing is not just about printing plastic things or toys.
I was involved this Spring with an amazing group of volunteers with various expertise organized as the Field Innovation Team “FIT." A small number of us were directly at the disaster scene working with the incident command coordinating, like Frank Sanborn of FIT, and a few of us were remotely deployed assisting the Oso, Washington mudslide response efforts with new technologies and ideas from UAVs (drones), communications, and 3D printing.
We created a 3D Print of the mudslide region referred to by locals as “the moonscape.” The 3D print was made by Autodesk’s Mitko Vidanovski as he took the Lidar point cloud data and created the solid model to generate this rather large 3D print that is used at the incident command to help organize reconstruction efforts at the scene. Having something physical for the teams to discuss instead of a series of flat photos or topographical maps can help avoid miscommunication and hopefully speed efforts actively going on.
One innovative visualization method using this 3D print of the disaster scene is Frank Sanborn using a small portable projector to project an aerial image captured from a fixed wing UAV by PrecisionHawk onto the 3D print. Who needs a full color 3D print when you can project a high detail texture map on the 3D print and also project different types of data on the 3D print such as aerial imagery, GIS historical data showing original structure locations, and planning designs all on the same 3D print.
It was truly amazing and inspiring to be part of this small team and produce an important 3D print with a real purpose to help people at a disaster site.
The 2014 FIT Team!
We are all volunteers that are from various backgrounds like former astronauts to former special forces, from makers to drone experts, from health professionals to technologists, from artists to community organizers. FIT is an amazing collection of experience and expertise with the common goal to assist in helping people.
Below is the photo from our boot camp held near Heber Utah this Spring and you can see the Utah State Governor Herbert with us in the photo (gentleman in the maroon-colored tie).
Photo by Desiree Matel-Anderson [email protected]