technology thinking big

Leggy plants… and planters

“Leggy is a very special succulent planter that could walk away at any time, but as long as he has light and enough water, he will stay with you forever”

~p4Zr, Leggy’s designer on Thingiverse

3D printed this little guy the other day for a succulent who needs a new home and more love.

3D printing has a lot of potential. What if we could use compostable materials to print, at home, only what we need, when we need it? No gas-guzzling shipping halfway around the world. And what if when it was done being one thing, we could chip it, melt it, extrude it, and turn it into something else?

It’s an exciting idea for a smaller footprint. But we do need to point out too when the Tech Emperor has no clothes. And that dude is naked a lot of the time.

Machine learning, AI, 3D printing… Sprinkle in the words “deep” or “neural” or “cloud” to add another zero to your funding. “We use soft robotics to neural our blockchain to the cloud…4.0”. All aboard the hype train, next stop, Quick Fixes.

The reality is complicated. Each one of these can be wonderful tools. And like all tools they work best when we first learn how they work, how to use them, what they’re best for. We don’t try to cut wood with a hammer.

3D printing is both great and has a ways yet to go. PLA requires an industrial facility to be properly composted, and end-to-end residential re-use solutions are expensive and rare.

There’s great possibility to use tech in creative and planet-friendly ways. But deep understanding is in its early days.

I figure while we squeak closer to better systems, the best quick fix for now, and probably for always, is using less.

…And I don’t mean only printing pint-sized planters 😉 Although how flipping cute is this guy.

Happy Earth Day folks! Have a great weekend.