Print It! Wear It!: New Technologies for Today’s Libraries

Heather Staines

Heather Staines

Heather Staines, VP, Publisher Development, SIPX, noted that an ever-growing array of wearable technology has become available –glasses, watches, shoes, bracelets, etc.

Wearable Computers

One of the most well-known devices is Google Glass, now in its 2nd version (Staines is a Google Glass Explorer). Glass will be released commercially this year with a little more RAM.  To the user, the display looks like a big screen TV. Updates can be sent to an Android phone.  About 100 apps are available for Glass.  There is significant interest in Glass in the medical field (consultation, information, instruction); engineering/architecture (blueprints, overlays where having one’s hands free would be useful); journalism; and field work.  Uses in research, teaching, and learning include agriculture (look at a leaf and find out what kind of a tree it is, see the effects of pesticide, rainfall, etc.), zoology (check cameras, update location data), psychology,  and behavioral science. Glass could provide useful accessibility for people with visual impairments, speech to text, object recognition, audio navigation, mobility impairment, and emotion detection.  Schools and libraries are using Glass for applications such as campus tours.

Concerns include privacy, data collection and monitoring, social implications and norms, neurological impact, and copyright.

Rick Anderson

Rick Anderson

Rick Anderson, University of Utah, described how the Marriott Library is using 3D printing.  They have 5 printers that are in almost constant use:  a NextEngine 3D laser scanner, a ProJect 160 powder printer, 2 LulzBot plastic printers, and a MakerBot 5th Generation plastic printer.  Users can bring in a data file, and the library staff loads it into a printer along with the raw materials and oversees the printing process (which can take several hours).  Pricing is as follows:

Pricing

Users come from a number of departments:  fine arts and architecture, engineering, medicine (one doctor makes a 3D print of a child’s heart before surgery so he knows what it is like), math, business, chemistry.  Here are some examples of 3D prints made by users:

Dinosaur bones

Dinosaur bones

Architecture Model

Architecture Model

Miscellaneous Objects

Miscellaneous Objects

Other issues:

Intellectual property (what to do with the data files submitted: keep them or share them, etc.).  Users are asked to sign a waiver affirming that they are not violating anyone else’s rights. Currently, data files are kept for one semester and then deleted.  The library is working on a permissions form giving them the right to keep files indefinitely, share them, and show them.

Don HawkinsDon Hawkins
Charleston Conference Blogger and Against The Grain Columnist

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