The past few weeks in this class have been very interesting for me. I’ve been connecting a lot of mental dots, from past classes and ideas I’ve had or seen recently. Our discussions of 3D modeling, mapping, and copyrighting have given me several ideas and are making me think differently about new technologies. My thoughts have centralized around intellectual property/copyright, 3D modeling, and 3D printing.
Medical Fields and Databases
3D modeling is a powerful tool. As with many things, I like to look at the implications of this technology. It’s easy to do, as we can tell by the fact that we were able to get at least some result in our quick experiment in class. People who devote more time and use better equipment get great and accurate results, and these models can serve as powerful tools. Being able to create an almost exact 3D model of things in the real world is a way of preserving them forever. A picture doesn’t quite do a sculpture or a three-dimensional object enough justice in preserving its legacy or what it’s really like. This means that at the moment, within a reasonable scale, we can digitally document anything. Sculptures, paintings, objects, and even things that aren’t yet real can be modeled in 3D. Things that can be modeled in 3D can also be 3D printed, which I think is fascinating. The two of these concepts can be combined to do amazing things. Obviously, people can design their own 3D models from scratch to be printed. But, if you want something 100% accurate to the real world, you can use a model from a real object. You could have a scaled replica of a Michelangelo statue, or maybe some day (when 3D printing is slightly more advanced) you could have an exact replica. The implications of this are far more reaching than I can comprehend at this moment, but I first think of the medical field. Being able to model body parts or organs after real humans bodies will allow medical professionals to build a “human anatomy” database.
In this article, it briefly discusses how a group of scientists were able to 3D print human liver tissue. 3D printing human cells is becoming a very real thing. This means that some day not too far from now we could be 3D printing kidneys, or skin, or brain tissue. Having this “anatomy database” of organs and limbs and other things, modeled off of real people, would mean that 3D printing these things would be very easy. It takes a lot of the human error out of the picture. I know I’m not great at explaining this, but you have to imagine a time in the future where someone needs a heart transplant, and instead of waiting for a donor (which is very very unlikely to happen) doctors are able to use and print a preloaded model that matches the need of the patient. My other thoughts on 3D modeling don’t relate to the medical field, but do relate to the idea of a database of sorts. Everything is able to be 3D modeled, but not everything is able to be in the way we did in class. This is a more accurate method than trying to design something by hand, though. Even still, everything that can be modeled accurately using the method we used and discussed in class could be available to everyone in the world. This is sort of a far fetched and largely conceptual idea, but it’s an implication I think of. A database categorized by keywords and names and preset categories, all of 3D models of real things. For example, if I modeled the fire hydrant I took pictures of for class, it would be filed under “fire hydrants”, a folder where thousands of other different fire hydrants exist. What would be the point of this? I have no clue. I can only speculate minors uses at this point in my imagination. Maybe this could help with different kinds of mapping, such as home design or city planning. This could even be useful in something like mapping Pompei. I know at this point in time, things like this sort of already exist, but I think it would be interesting to have a centralized place to have all things. A global center of all “things” to which anyone can contribute (if that makes any sense at all). A smaller scale example would be to have a digital museum of sorts, which contains all sorts of art from around the world in a central place. Sure, it’s not the real thing, but it’s preserved and its beauty can be observed in a different way.
Art, the Creator, and Ideas
That scattered thought piece leads me to my final and main thought about the past few classes we’ve had: copyright and intellectual property. In my senior year of english class in high school, we did a unit on “art and the artist”. Two ideas from that which caught my attention were counterfeiting and adding value to things based off perspective. The sparknotes version of those two ideas are this; a perfect counterfeit of a famous painting is indistinguishable from the real thing, yet if we know it’s not by the famous artist, it loses most if not all of its value. Also, people would be willing to pay a lot more for art if they thought it was created by a famous artist, even if it wasn’t created by them at all. This is a very deep topic, but we can see from just scratching the surface that the human perspective plays a lot into how we value things or ideas. This got me thinking a lot about copyright and intellectual property. Where do we draw the line between something that is able to be copyrighted or trademarked, and something that could be considered common knowledge? Why are we able to, in some instances, copyright an idea or thought that could be shared by many people? In some cases, people put a lot of work into theories or inventions or processes, and they deserve credit for the work they have done to advance someone else’s work. But at what point do we really have to give credit to the most basic of intellectual property? Does the drinking straw really need a patent? People are quick now to apply for a patent or trademark for their works or ideas, and I can’t blame them. We live in a time where people are desperate to put their name on their work so they can get the recognition they deserve. It sort of scares me thought that more and more things are becoming private ideas used for money, credit, and exclusion, rather than the benefit of society. Circling back to the art-part though- is creating an exact 3D model of an artist’s work (based off the real thing) part of the process of counterfeiting their work? And art in this context will be very vague. Art could mean a statue, or sculpture, or a special type of copyrighted product, or even a Frisbee™. If I 3D print a Frisbee brand flying disk based exactly off of their product, am I technically stealing? I have no clue. I feel as though we are in a time of a lot of ambiguity regarding this subject because it is so new and is changing so fast. Regardless, thank you for trying to stick with me during this slightly scattered and at times confusing stream of consciousness.