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10 Talks in 6 Days

June 26, 2010

Filed under: additive manufacturing,event,manufacturing,travel — Terry Wohlers @ 17:58

When asked if I’d come to Australia in June 2010, I said Yes. The plan was to conduct a series of conferences, workshops, and company presentations in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, and Brisbane. The tenth is on Monday here in Brisbane. By the end of that day, I will have had the privilege of presenting the “Factory of the Future” to nearly 600 engineering and manufacturing professionals from across the country.

I underestimated how demanding it would be. The “road show” began last Monday—the day after I arrived. Rest is essential when traveling to any part of the world and, thankfully, I’m getting some this weekend.

The effort began with Simon Marriott, founder and managing director of Formero (formerly ARRK Australia), who asked if I would partner with him to offer the series. The company’s headquarters are in Melbourne, with operations in the other three cities. Formero has a long history of using additive manufacturing (AM) technology for modeling and prototyping applications. Simon understands the potential of applying it to end-use part production and fully expects to help develop its use for this application throughout this distant but advanced and fascinating country.

Yesterday was one of the most interesting days of all. It began with an early morning car ride from the hotel to Sky News television studios in Sydney. I was supposed to be interviewed the previous day, but it was canceled due to nearly non-stop coverage of Australia’s first woman prime minister, Julia Gillard. With such big news, Simon and I knew the odds of a major television network covering the future of manufacturing in Australia had declined dramatically. It turned out that you can only repeat the same news so much and an appetite developed for something else. We were it.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we arrived nearly 25 minutes late. After quickly signing in, I was escorted to the “nerve center” of the studios where two live broadcasts were underway. Within a couple minutes, I was sitting in between two news reporters. No time for makeup or a dry run. We hardly had time for introductions. News reporter Carson Scott said, “It’s a shame you don’t have photographs or something to show what we’re talking about.” I told him I had a few example parts. We had about 60 seconds to retrieve them from my case. Many questions later, the interview was over. It was live and broadcast nationwide on Sky News, which I did not know 10 minutes prior to my arrival. So much for having the option of editting out the bad stuff.

I trust the television broadcast, coupled with the series of presentations, will help introduce a few new ideas on how additive manufacturing can help advance product development and innovation in Australia. The interest and feedback thus far have been tremendous. Thanks to Simon Marriott and Formero for this exciting initiative. I hope the individuals and organizations across the country will benefit and take AM technology to the next level.

Cameron on TED

June 13, 2010

Filed under: entertainment,review — Terry Wohlers @ 08:09

I’ve been impressed by the caliber of speakers and quality of information presented at TED.com. I know little about the organization, but have learned that the 15-20 minutes presentations are well worth my time.

I’ve become an admirer of James Cameron. This came after hearing him speak at SolidWorks World 2010 and later talking with him in early February. Avatar had been out for about six weeks at that point, although I had not yet seen it when I met him. Of course, I did not tell him that, but I did congratulate him on the success of the film.

Cameron gives a fascinating speech at TED.com. He talks about his experiences in the deep sea, which I found interesting, given that I’m also an avid scuba diver. (He has spent 2,500 hours scuba diving and 500 hours in submersibles.) His work at great depths has become even more meaningful, now that he and a team of experts are proposing solutions to the BP oil disaster.

Cameron is also the producer of Titanic and gave some insight into his initial motivation for making the movie. He admited, “Secretly, what I wanted to do is dive to the real wreck of Titanic. And that’s the truth.” Six months after proposing the movie, he found himself in a Russian submersible 2.5 miles down in the North Atlantic looking at the real the Titanic.

If you have not viewed a TED.com speech, now may be the time. Cameron is an intriguing individual and speaker. He makes movies and documentaries, but his passion for the sea, space exploration, computer graphics, engineering, and manufacturing are what I find most captivating about him. I hope you agree that his views and experiences are engaging.