Winter Afternoon Surprise

MakerBot snowflake

Snowflake made by Fred Feiertag

It’s a perfect winter afternoon.

Fred Feiertag, our illustrious head of The Department of Making Things marched up to me and proudly handed me a snowflake today. Yes, a snowflake. It didn’t melt because it is made of plastic and is quite sparkly. This isn’t your run of the mill made-in-China holiday ornament.  Fred made it himself using a computer laser-cutting machine.  This snowflake is special to me because I know that it represents the early beginnings of a new trend in fabrication. 3-D printers and computer-controlled machines are early signs of an emerging revolution in flexible small-scale community manufacturing. And, Seattle Academy is poised to be at the front of this new technology and new industry. There is a wonderful article here from Wired magazine that describes this movement: In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atom are the New Bits.

The snowflake reminded me of another time I experienced the very beginnings of a big big trend. I remember the very first digital picture I received at a party I attended with Adobe employees back in the mid-1980’s.  The employees had taken the camera from work (without permission) and they decided my toddler was cute enough to photograph. I knew then that picture was historic. Now we take digital photos for granted. They are everywhere and even your phones can produce them. In fact, Liat Perlin took this snowflake picture with her phone.  Thanks Liat.  Thanks Fred for creating some magic for my winter afternoon.


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