Kickstarter Watch: LIX 3D Printer PenWhen it comes to the latest in technological innovation, crowd-sourcing sites such as Kickstarter seem to be on the cutting edge. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website where the general public pledges money in an effort to help start-ups raise funds to release their products and services. The idea is to connect entrepreneurs directly with their potential customers, without the need to go through corporate middlemen. Each campaign has 30 days to reach a funding goal, and none of the backers will lose any money if the goal is not met. There are different tiers of pledges offering extra incentives for those who pledge higher amounts of money.
Crowdfunding speeds up the development process and, as a result, allows for quicker innovation in newly emerging technologies. Take for example the LIX 3D Pen - billed as the world's smallest 3D Printing Pen - which is currently in the midst of its own (already successful) Kickstarter campaign. Though 3D printing itself is still a relatively new field, the emergence of prototype 3D printing pens, such as the pen being made by LIX, shows how quickly a field can diversify and advance in the age of the Kickstarter.The 3D Printer Pen by LIX is one of several similar prototypes being manufactured in the still-young field of 3D printing. By now most of us are somewhat familiar with the idea of 3D printing and its myriad potential uses. However, rather than using 3D printing technology to print new organs, tools, toys, or even guns, LIX is using the technology to assist the visual artists of the world. The 3D printing pen allows the user to literally doodle in the air, in three dimensions, using one of two types of plastic filament which are inserted through the top of the pen. In the same way that larger 3D printers work, components in the pen melt the plastic which can then be shaped and formed by movements of the pen in the artist's hand. The pen itself is connected to and powered by a computer via a USB 3.0 port.
According to LIX, the uses for their pen go beyond simple doodling. Among other recommended uses for the pen, they suggest using it to embellish clothing, create usable items for interior design, or even craft prototypes for your own products and ideas. Whether you choose to pass the time doodling in the air or drawing up unique and useful everyday items, emerging 3D printing pen technology promises to be adaptive and highly useful in ways which most of us probably haven't even considered yet.