My dream for PR.

This article reflects my personal opinions, and not the opinions of Panda Robotics

I’ve had a few very interesting conversations and the organizations I’ve managed have had to make a very difficult decisions this last week.

Panda Robotics’ target market is primarily the general consumer, I personally believe that it is time to get 3d printers out of the labs, out of the workshops, right into the homes. Essentially, the exact same thinking that happened in the late 70s with personal computers.

Yes, there are always ways to improve on these existing tools from the perspective of finer resolution, etc., but, in my opinion we could spend the rest of time trying to make the very best one before we get the prices down and get it so people can use it themselves. Get it so everyone can start to imagine and create in ways that we, the manufacturers, can’t even imagine.

I’m fairly certain many of the early PC pioneers never envisioned VisiCalc, nor dreamt that something that useful for business could run on such an underpowered machine.

To get to the general consumer, we not only have to get the price down, but my dream was to get Pandabots safe and easy enough to use that we could get entire labs of these into the schools at schoolboards, or the universities throughout North America. Yes, there would still be a place for high-end printers like the Objet’s and Dimensions, but this provides a stepping stone where individuals who would never have had the opportunity to really play with a 3d printer, learn it’s limitations and possibilities, but more importantly be able to dream about how they can create a new world with it.

I know, this seems very optimistic, but I really think that Moore’s Law (to some degree) will apply to 3d printing, and by the time the kids in elementary school have reached adulthood, they will not only view 3d printing as just another part of life, but be able to enact those things they’ve been dreaming of doing since they were young.

Just as many of us did when we graduated, having started on old XTs and Apple IIs.

Amazingly, when the kickstarter started. we got lots of requests from schools and institutions who wanted it precisely for this reason. It excites me immensely, and I’m very hopeful that we’ll be able to get the first production models to them soon. So that the people in school in 2013 will be able to all start to use 3d printers daily and get as excited as me about them.

I’m working as hard as I can to make this dream come true, and I appreciate all of the support each and everyone of you has given me in reaching it.


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Dreams of a real TTC

I ran across the following image today:

TTC dream map
TTC dream map

It got me thinking about Toronto and our interesting, but underwhelming public transit system. It’s a real problem that we are still clogging up our vehicular arteries with streetcars (see Queen St. during rush hour) and trying to compensate for it with patches to the existing system, or incrementalism, rather than simply doing it correctly the first time. What’s crazier though is we claim we do the incrementalism to save money, when in reality these subway designs and relief lines have been in planning since the early 1900s and if they were built when they were originally suggested, they would have cost less money overall than building the equivalent system today would have.

Anyone who has driven in this city will easily agree that the road system, at best, has difficulties handling the traffic load at that time, and at worst is actually fundamentally dangerous. This has become particularly worse now that the city is starting to densify downtown, and the condos have introduced an entirely new group of drivers and pedestrians further amplifying the problem. Many people who live along the TTC simply take the subway, but as I have experienced (and no doubt many of you have experienced), riding the TTC between 4:30 and 6:30pm on a weekday is as futile as trying to keep a snowball whole in a 400 degree oven. With either shoulder-to-shoulder discomfort on the streetcars, or a wait for the 3rd or 4th subway car before you can even get on the train at St. George or Bloor station interchanges.

It’s not like I’m saying anything new though. There have been a huge number of suggested improvements to the current system. It’s not like there’s a lack of good ideas out there, and even taking a small portion of any of those maps and starting to build it now would immediately make life for ordinary people in Toronto (and surrounding area) better and more importantly safer.

If we build it now, we will save money in the future, it’s that easy. These subways need to be built as the city grows, and as anyone can easily see, Toronto isn’t going to start shrinking anytime soon.

Our governments (municipal, provincial, and federal) won’t do anything about it unless Torontonians start demanding it now and demanding that we build it right the first time. A lasting, solid system that Canada can be proud of.

Just my thoughts,


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