By Sojourner McKenzie
This week, Humanity Hallows were invited to see a preview of the two new exhibits for the launch of Manchester Science Festival 2014. On display were the ‘The Sounds of Others’ and the ‘3D: Printing the Future’ exhibits.
First, we were given time with one of the creators of the exhibit Marcus Coates, along with Geoff Sample, who explained that ‘the technology to do this had not existed before.’ We then entered into a darkened room, in which on opposing sides stood two counters. All around us we heard different animals sped up or slowed down, which mirrored other animals. For example, if you slow down the sound of a child’s playground you can distinctly hear what sounds like Red Deer. This all made for a fascinating exhibit, exploring how in reality we all sound the same in the animal kingdom, in one form or another.
Then we were taken into the next exhibit, dedicated to showing off the latest advances in 3D printing. I was astounded by the leaps and bounds that 3D printing had made – another journalist commented that they were using CAD/CAM in Graphics at GCSE, remembering that her teacher didn’t think the technology would take off.
It was interesting to see the intricate things that the printer could create, from a miniature shark’s head to metal skull plates. However, what did fascinate me was that, as the managing director of Cavendish Imaging, pointed out “we’ve been using this technology since the ‘90s in medicine.’ The exhibit was clearly proud of the medical implications since a synthetic heart was proudly on display, as the first thing I saw coming in.
In all there are 3 types of 3D printing, and in the exhibit itself they were showing off one of the smaller machines. Much quieter than an HP, this machine was slowly but surely creating a rocket out of blue plastic. But like a watched kettle, if I stared at it for a while it would look like nothing had happened. If I came back after five minutes a whole new layer had been added to the creation.
Although it is with its drawbacks, as one of the very enthusiastic staff members explained, as 3D printing for the home can be yours if you have £2000 to spare. However Paul Ryan, of Hobs studio, who are at the forefront of 3D printing, explained to me that the internet is making a huge difference to the 3D printing world. “You could just go online and look at the models, and if you wanted to, you could tweak it a bit and print it out,” he said.
These were just two of the many exhibits going on this week at the festival. The festival truly has some wide-ranging activities from getting children stuck in with science, to a silent disco to showings of Total Recall and Starship Troopers. The festival runs until the 4th of November and I would highly recommend checking it out.
For more information on the Manchester Science Festival 2014, please visit manchestersciencefestival.com
If you are visiting the festival, why not blog about it for Humanity Hallows? Send your writing to HH.MCR@gmail.com
Sojourner McKenzie is Entertainment Editor at Humanity Hallows. She is starting her second year of an English and Film degree and spends most of her time ranting at no-one in particular about everything. Follow her on Twitter @runsojrun