Tonight is the premiere of Season 13 of Project Runway, and while I won’t be launching another “Project Runway Studio 109A” Challenge, I will be watching.
Last season, designer Justin LeBlanc became a fan favorite with his streamlined, architectural designs. As a finalist showing his work at New York’s Fashion Week, he wowed the judges with his accessories, many of which were printed at the North Carolina State School of Design using a 3D printer.
Project Runway fan favorite, Justin LeBlanc at our school’s Reflections Celebration.
While 3D printers have been used in the manufacturing industry, the technology is crossing over into other industries, including fashion. Although the technology is expensive, some companies are working to make this technology accessible to all of us. Home Depot just signed an agreement with MakerBot to sell its line of replicator machines. Shapeways is making it easier than ever for users, including jewelry designers, to customize and print their designs affordably.
As computer technology continues to cross over into every field, the need for Computer Scientists will only increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As demand for new and better technology grows, demand for computer scientists will grow as well.” [http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm#tab-6]
Both my children attend STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) magnet schools, so I have seen first hand how educators are working hard to make sure students not only computer savvy but career ready.
Even Google is jumping on the STEM bandwagon with its Made with Code initiative designed to “help ensure that more girls become the creators, and not just the consumers, of our collective digital future.”
“For students today, coding is becoming an essential skill, just like reading, writing, and math. If you have a daughter, niece, or other girl that you know, encouraging her to learn to code can open up countless opportunities for her future. Whether she’s an athlete or an artist, loves animals, or wants to explore medicine, coding can help her pursue her interests now and create greater career options and job security for her future.” [https://www.madewithcode.com/bigdeal]
Google’s Made with Code website features a variety of free online projects to encourage girls to start “writing their own stories” using code. One of the projects is a coded bracelet in which girls can experiment with Blocky software to create a customized 3D bracelet. [https://www.madewithcode.com/project/bracelet#]
A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I tried our hand at coding a 3D bracelet. Just yesterday, our creation came in the mail courtesy of Google and Shapeways.
3D “Made with Code” Bracelet
Technology not only presents artists like me with a new set of tools, but also a new set of challenges. While technology may be changing the way we think of art, I hope the relationship between artist and audience, creator and consumer, will go unchanged. “It’s what experience can I deliver to you that is provocative, that can change how you think. How can I, the art piece, change your relationship — not to me, but to something else or to the world? That question has nothing to do with technology at all.” [John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design on How Technology is Changing Art]
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