Initially created to solve a military problem, the founders of Sightline Maps are expanding their downloadable 3D printing topography map files to school classrooms. Tom and Tracy Hazzard speak with Jason Ray about how teachers are integrating 3D printing into their curriculum and fostering better understanding of more than just geography concepts with their students. Sightline Maps is a very interesting company who is doing things we haven’t yet seen in the 3D printing industry.
This episode on 3D printing topography maps is sponsored by MakerBot. I’ve seen some of these ideas, but it’s like a topographical map. I’ve seen some of them printed out before from various places but they’re doing it in a really interesting way, which we’ll let them talk about in a minute. They are on Kickstarter at the time that we’re recording this. We make it a policy here at WTFFF not to unduly influence a Kickstarter. If somebody applies to talk with us, we try to put not air their episode until after they Kickstarter is done or sometimes not even talk to them until after the Kickstarter is done. Because we don’t want to get in a situation which then they don’t deliver to you guys as listeners but you went and funded them because you heard them on our show. We try not to influence that.
This is different because these guys are already doing this and this is educationally related. They’re on Kickstarter to try and raise money to get it to more schools, which I think is a worthwhile cause. Actually, by the time this publishes, the Kickstarter is over (and they funded their project). It just couldn’t air sooner due to our editorial calendar. It wasn’t possible. So we didn’t have an effect on it.
The other aspect of this is what they’re doing with schools is not really their main business profit-making venture. In fact, much of what they’re doing with schools is completely not for profit. It’s tangent to their company’s main business. Let’s hear from Jason Ray of Sightline Maps and we’ll hear all about that and then we’ll touch base on the other side.
Listen to the podcast here:
Global 3D Printing Topography with Jason Ray of Sightline Maps
Thanks so much for joining us, Jason. I was really excited to get connected with you because on a previous episode, we’ve been talking about the idea of projects that kids could do for school and other things. The idea of a topographical map came up, and then all of a sudden I found you, or you
I’m so glad you did.
Tell us a little bit about how Sightline Maps and how it came about.
Sightline Maps was initially conceived up to solve a military problem that we have when performing mission planning. Traditionally, the way we do mission planning is use essentially like a sandbox and we use some props and we draw out the topography that way. A lot of people stand around this big sandcastle. The founder, one of the founders, Ben Judge and his initial partner, Sam Corcos, they came up with an idea to automate that process.
The main question was, why aren’t we using 3D printing technology for solving this problem? It just didn’t make sense to them. When they started to look into it a little bit more, they realized it was really challenging to go from GIS data to a file that was optimized for 3D printing. It took a lot of time. It was cumbersome on the designers part. They decided to build a software solution that did that. Really what we’ve done is we’ve created the most efficient platform for finding and selecting areas around the world and instantly converting it to 3D printable files.
Super cool. Wow, that’s great. I just wanted to define GIS for our audience, for those who don’t know. It’s Global Information Systems. Is that it?
Yeah, that’s it, absolutely. It’s Geographical Information Systems, is GIS. Really, it’s mapping data. That can take many forms. It can be in the form of LiDAR data, it can be in the form of high speed photography, it can come from satellites. There are a lot of different ways this data’s gathered. Which is hence why it can be challenging at times for traditional users to try to create printable files.
What is Google Maps using first? I know a lot of my listeners are really comfortable and know how to zoom in on their own house.
Absolutely. What Google Maps is using is they’re using satellite data. Basically what do is they have satellites that have gone around and they’ve taken pictures and they’ve used a combination of, I believe it’s LiDAR and very high powered camera optics to take pictures. What we leverage is a system called Mapbox. I guess I would say they’re a competitor with Google Maps. But what they’ve done is they’ve made it very, very easy for developers like us to build a software solution on top of their mapping data and leverage the information they have already.
I think you brought up a really interesting point about zooming in on your house. We gotten a lot of questions about how users can print a whole city or print their house or print their block. It’s definitely something that we’re working on. We realize how much utility that would bring. Right now, we have just the topography of an area, but were definitely working to integrate building data here in the not too distant future.
Wow, that would be neat. That would be really cool. Let’s understand. If you’re lucky, you have a twelve inch build plate. Not a lot of room on your 3D printer. How much area in a topographical map can you fit within that twelve inches?
That’s a great question. It really comes back to mathematics, which is also why it’s really interesting for kids to get involved with this. On a twelve inch build plate, it really depends on how dramatic your topography is. If we’re looking in an area like Mount Everest, I can select a hundred square miles I’ll be able to see the topography actually really well. But if I’m looking at an area like Michigan for instance, I select a 100 square miles, it’s going to be really flat.
But we will see it looked like a hand, the mitten. My oldest daughter was born there. That was the first place we lived. That’s really interesting, you could see more shape in one and then more height in topography and another.
Absolutely. Working on the shape right now. If you were to select Michigan, you wouldn’t even see the outline of the hand because the way we’ve optimized the software as it takes sea the level and it goes from sea level up. Which brings me to another feature that we’re working on, which is integrating ocean floor and lake bottom data into the site. Right now, we can give you access to the topography of everywhere above sea level that we have. Very soon, we’ll be able to integrate the ocean floor data into this.
Which adds a new dimension to what were working on because if I’m looking at just sea level and I select the a hundred square mile area and the highest point in a place like Northern Michigan is a thousand square feet, that’s going to be like less than 100th of one percent of the distance. If that makes sense on a 20 micron layer thickness print, you’re not even going to see a blip because it really is just such a fraction of that twelve inch by twelve inch build plate.
I see, I can understand that. What you’re saying, if I understand this correctly, is that the scale of area that you print is variable but depending on the elevation differences in that scale, you’re either going to have a very boring print or you’re going to have a really interesting print.
See, now you said it perfectly. Absolutely. We’re looking for great people at Sightline.
Thanks. I can imagine, so people in let’s say West Virginia in the Smokey Mountains or somewhere in New Hampshire in the presidential mountain range, there are areas of the country where this would be very powerful. Or I can see studying other areas of the country, or the world for that matter, would be fantastic. Like maybe certain parts of Ireland where they have these major cliffs down to the ocean or something. It sounds like it’s an incredibly useful tool.
The way we came to education is we actually … The military is a very long acquisition cycle and working with them can take months to years. While we were looking and beta testing in other industries, we decided to give the software to a few schools just to see what they would come up with and how they would use it. We found that they were really excited about it. We kind of said, “How can this be used in the classroom?” We sat down with several teachers and we can work through it.
What we stumbled on is people have a really hard time understanding things they’ve never seen before, especially when you’re younger. I can show you a picture of Mount Everest but it doesn’t really give you a good understanding of what the scale is unless you can compare it to another area in the world that you’re familiar with.
If for instance I’m able to print Mount Everest and then put it next to a mountain that’s something that you’ve seen or you’ve hiked or the highest point in your town and I can compare them, I think we really found that that gave kids a much stronger spatial understanding of what they were seeing and learning about.
That’s a really interesting idea. I love that, that idea that you have to relate it to something that you know, that compare and contrast idea.
When we have building data, it’s going to be even stronger because I’ll be able to say to a student, “Let’s print the school and now let’s put that school next to the Empire State building at the same scale. Or lets put your school next to Shenandoah and you can see what Old Rag looks like.” Or any of the areas they’re trying to learn about.
Another interesting place where we saw it being used in the classroom was for getting students engaged in topics where they may not have been as interested. We’ve really moved to a digital age. When trying to teach literature, it’s more challenging when working with young children.
Some of the books that these teachers are working with, they talked about different areas in the world. What the teachers did is they went and printed those areas and they were actually able to get the kids much more engaged with what they were reading about and learning about.
There you go. We need to print the whole topographical map for Game of Thrones. I don’t think we’ll be reading that in our classroom any time soon. I don’t think there’s GIS information on Winterfell and all that. That’s fantasy land. George RR Martin drew it out on his books.
What’s interesting to me, and I wonder this may fall somewhere in between the topographical data and the building data, maybe you can tell us Jason. Where do the pyramids in Egypt fall in that? They’re essentially so old. Is this data that’s scanned and part of the topographical stuff or that’s considered a building, because it was man made and still you would have a flat desert if you tried to print that area out.
That is an awesome question and I will tell you in just a second.
Because you don’t know. Look it up, I want to know. We’ll pause that one. I’m just curious because I have a good friend who is a history teacher in Connecticut. He actually has been talking with me lately. I’ve been giving him some advice on … He’s like, “What 3D printer would you recommend for classroom?” Their school hasn’t bought any yet unlike a lot of other schools in their area. They’re catching up.
He’s going to use it to teach history among other things. There are many different aspects of history. I would think the pyramids and of course pharaohs of Egypt and all that is an important part of history. I would think understanding potentially the scale of the pyramids and maybe even some of the pyramids relative to each other if you could take an area of Egypt and print it out, it would be really cool.
I’m just wondering if that would be available now or that has to wait until you get your building data put in. I see so many times already that teachers already do teach on that building data type things because we have here in California, there’s always at our local Michael’s or Joann’s and other places like that, they have all the stuff to build a Mission, the Mission here at San Juan Capistrano because it’s a part of the California history segments that they do.
Every school usually has a period at which, somewhere around fifth or sixth grade, somewhere in there. The kids end up building a little diorama, building a Mission or something. The interesting idea to start that on a topographical map of certain areas and how close you are to the ocean and all of those things, to see why it was the location that that Mission was built up in and why it was such a good place for that to happen. That would be being able to take that lesson much further.
Of course as parents, it would be great to have the building so that you didn’t have to go by those stupid Styrofoam and gross things and put the thing together. Let your kid print them out and try them that way. I think that would be a really interesting future addition.
Absolutely. I’m looking right now at the pyramids. The quality of the data is something that we have to work through in the future. I can definitely see them on the map and I can definitely see a couple of layers and little blips. What we found is that using Mapbox, we have somewhere between 3 and 30 meter accuracy. That really can be challenging depending on what area of the world we’re working on.
That’s part of why we went out to perform this Kickstarter campaign, is to raise money to improve the quality of the data and the quality of the site for use in education. This is a phenomenal use case that you bring up with the pyramids. I think it’s something where it’s only going to get better, whether that’s us going out and finding and piecing the data together because Mapbox doesn’t provide that, or whether that’s us working with the team at Mapbox to improve the quality of the data there.
Or the schools. You could use a global cooperative with schools around the world and let them learn how to improve their own area. That would be an awesome high school project or college project. It would really be an interesting project. I think that sponsoring those would be really interesting.
It’s absolutely brilliant. Especially as we see the drone technology get cheaper and cheaper and become more democratized, you’re starting to look at $1,000 for a drone that can do mapping, which is quite incredible.
Or a kit you print your own, we’ve heard here.
You hit on a point that’s actually really interesting because I think that is a direction that we are looking to go in, is figuring out how to really improve the quality of that data.
If it were possible, if the data in this format could be consistent between individual users around the world who may have a drone or access to a drone, to scan their own building or buildings around them where they could add it to the map. That would be an interesting way to crowd source improving the map.
I remember when the early GPS in cars that were not built into a car where you could get to update those maps frequently. People would in drive areas that were off the map but the GPS would remember that information and there was a way for you to share that information back and improve the map quality over time. Something similar.
We used to actually have to take our GPS and plug it into our computer and then send the data. But it worked. It helped improve them over time and it helped them do it faster because they just didn’t physically have the time and the resources to get around the world and improve all of that.
Sounds a lot like Waze. Waze crowd sources all that data.
It’s really interesting. That’s a fantastic thought.
I’m curious about the print quality. Let’s talk a little bit about that. You said you have a 0 to 30 meter range of variableness. That’s completely understandable. We’re mostly printing in an FFF situation at most of these schools. We’re printing in solid colors. How are you distinguishing areas with textures or different things? If a student’s going to go in and maybe paint it, which is an interesting idea, they need to understand where all those distinctive areas lie. Do you do any of that yet?
Absolutely. One thing that we’re going to be rolling out right after the Kickstarter is the ability to download full color files. One thing that I like to emphasize is the fact that we love the fact that we enable 3D printing. We don’t think 3D printing is the only way to truly benefit from the use of the site.
I think it’s one of the things that’s going to propel 3D printing into the future, is creating a future workforce that fully understands how to work with CAD, fully understands dealing with 3D models and interacting with 3D models. That’s what we’re providing. We’re providing a optimized 3D model for use in 3D printing. If they wanted to hook it to a CNC machine, they could carve out of metal or wood.
There are a lot of different ways to end up with that final product. In the sense of figuring out what the different areas are, if they’re printing in monochromatic filament then you’re basically going to be looking at that model on your screen to see all the different areas. For instance, I’m holding a model of Kauai in my hands right now and I’m looking at Kauai spinning around on my screen.
It really gives me a good understanding of what I’m seeing. That can be used to inform that painting process if it’s going to go into an art class or be used for a project. Obviously, we hope to help further the business case for bringing color 3D printers into schools, which is something I think is relatively well overdue in the consumer desktop market.
You’re preaching to the choir. As product designers, we’ve been dying for color printers. We’ve tested out quite a few over the last couple years. It’s not so much right now, from our perspective, the printer itself. There are lots of printers who are capable of doing multicolor and other things, but the software that supports them are not in tune with what a creative person wants to use it for. They might blend or they might separate areas, but they don’t do what you might want to do creatively in terms of allowing color to be deposited in specific areas or integrated in different ways.
It’s really actually more of a software than a hardware problem as we see it. It’s also a cost issue now. I understand why most certainly the primary and secondary schools are just getting their feet wet with single color machines. To an extent I think, if it could just print out, if any student could just use your Sightline Maps to print out a certain geographic area for a project and it was all completely colored for them, there is less interaction for the student with the model.
I personally like the idea that they need to do some work with it after the fact. Either painting it or labeling it, decorating it. I think on a computer model, that would be a really interesting thing because it’s one of the things that you’ve explained multiple times to people who ask because you’ve done tutorials on it before.
Applying a texture into a particular area or applying text into a particular area to describe what you’re seeing, that would be a really interesting way to interact with your model. Wherever is the certain color that you apply a specific texture that looks like water or whatever that might be. Or if there was some other way to add to the model, manipulate a model that was part of a class project where the map is what you’re starting with.
Then you have some creative thought or additional thing that you’re doing, maybe even build a bridge across Niagara Falls or something like that. Could you get down to that level of scale to print the Horseshoe Falls topographically?
I think it really depends on the area. That’s why this Kickstarter has been so fantastic for us, because we’ve had just such enormous site traffic and interest in our different areas. We’re getting phenomenal feedback on areas of interest and areas where people are a little disappointed in the quality of the data.
What I typically like to tell people is, “This is awesome. This is what we need.” We need people saying, “This is an area that we’re interested in,” because it’s the only way that my team is going to be able to evolve our product into something that’s truly useful in the classrooms. I’ll have to take a look and see if we can see that Horseshoe Falls well.
I say Kauai just because it happens to be the model sitting on my desk. The quality of the data there is actually quite incredible. We hike the Kalalau Trail over Christmas. I can see the waterfall area, I can look at the entire cliffs going down to the side, much like the cliffs in Ireland that you mentioned. Like I said, different areas really have much stronger quality of data.
It’s really interesting. At the time we’re recording this, your Kickstarter has fifteen days to go. It’s about 50% funded. Unfortunately, this episode isn’t going to be able to help people fulfill that goal. But you don’t have too far to go. Hopefully this will happen. [Editors note: it did!] I wonder if, because this starts as military data, if somebody were trying to map a part of the Rocky Mountains around NORAD, do they just black that out? Is that nothing but flat?
It’s actually not military data that we’re leveraging right now. When we’re working with the military, we’ll be using data that they send us from drones or from satellites. It becomes a little bit of a different mission at that point. We can leverage Mapbox because that’s completely open data and it’s really going to depend on the quality that they have around those specific areas. Like you said, as we start to use much more collective crowd to improve upon the data that we have, I’m sure you’ll see some quite interesting areas being uploaded.
It’s really interesting because I really think that you guys are at the time at which it all needs to come up to a certain level. From the building side, the street level side, with autonomous cars and all the things that are going on, all of these things actually all have to come up at the same time in terms of quality level. Your timing could not be better, but it also means that we’re, in a way, in a future world, losing a little touch with our geography.
One of the things that I think is most critical about our education system is that kids come out of there and they have no idea of geography, they have no sense and understanding of it. Coming back to that connection of being able to see something, try something and compare something is going to be critical because we can’t just be relying on all of this data that somebody else put together for us. We need to check its accuracy, we need to check its understanding against ourselves and our world.
Absolutely. We like to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but actually holding a model of the area in your hand is fully understanding it. That’s what we’re driving at. I think we learn about a lot of different topics throughout our education experience, but are we really learning about it or are we just being introduced to something that is not going to be a memorable moment?
I think like you mentioned earlier, being able to use a map and take it from subject to subject and go to your art class and paint and then go to your history class and see it in comparison to all of your classmates’ maps and understand the different areas in the world. I just think it would be an incredible assignment for a teacher.
To give small groups of children different areas in the world and say, “You’re going to do a project on this. You’re going to tell us about the history of this area. You’re going to 3D print it. You guys are going to paint the models. We’re all going to come back together and we’re going to teach each other about these areas. We’ll be able to put all the models together and understand it really.”
I think that’s the vision we have. It crosses all the different classes and platforms. Understanding the mathematics behind why your model looks the way that it does, all those different pieces really are where we’re hoping to add value in the classroom.
I think that of many things that we’ve seen in terms of curriculum for the classroom, this is such a great universal tool. I’m no education expert so people may disagree with me. We’ve seen a lot of it. I think this is a very useful tool. I think it’s also a really good gateway tool. I think that a lot of teachers who communicate with us want to know where they could start, what might be a good starting point. I would think this is one really good one to consider.
I really appreciate and I like what you’re doing. I wish you great success. I hope it goes really well and I hope that Kickstarter fully funds for you to help take it to the next level. We’ll know by the time this airs. We’ll obviously let the audience know that for sure. Thank you so much Jason, for spending some time with us today. We really appreciate it.
Of course. Thank you. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate the opportunity.
Global 3D Printing Topography with Jason Ray of Sightline Maps – Final Thoughts
I have to say, and I said it a little bit to Jason toward the end of the interview, I really do think this is an incredibly useful tool, especially for teachers. Even though I know there are many other things that Sightline Maps is doing as a business to actually make money and schools is not the biggest part of it. That’s why they’re doing the Kickstarter, to help them help schools a little more easily instead of just having all that be out of their business cash flow.
They’re a startup and they’re relatively new. To expect them to be able to handle that kind of load of transitioning in schools and handling the labor and the customer service necessary when it’s not their core business, I think it was a good idea for them to go and get some Kickstarter funding for that. Completely reasonable and ethical, worthwhile. I think it’s a great way to do it. The company will still exist either way. It will just be a little harder for them to achieve some of their goals if they didn’t fund.
Think about that as a teacher. I know there are many of you teachers that listen to the podcast. Maybe also many students. The reality is if as a teacher, you’re looking for different ways to engage students to use 3D printing as a part of a project. Not have it all be about 3D printing but just as a tool, another tool in your toolbox to use.
I can think of so many applications where going into their site and zooming in on a certain geographic area of the world that does have enough altitude variation in it that it would print. It wouldn’t be flat. You don’t want to go printing your favorite spot in Kansas because it’s not really going to produce much of a model.
If you’re studying a certain area of the world. It could be about history, geography. I’m sure there are math and physics, engineering options, projects that could be done using these things. To just have there be an easy place to go to take a section of the world and save that as a model and 3D print it, takes a real big barrier away from doing such a project.
You were talking about building a bridge over Niagara Falls when we were on the episode. I think the idea though of solving world problems or solving engineering feats that are necessary, spanning distances, those kind of engineering problems. Doing it in the computer is one thing. But translating that to then, how does it look and how does it work and how does it actually span that distance and all of those things, when you then print it out and physically see it …
This is the problem that we see all the time. We get a lot of great industrial designers who come to us and show us their portfolios and all of those things. When we look at them, we see someone who does not have any application skills. They model in a computer and it’s extremely evident that they’re modeling in the computer and that they never actually built anything.
This isn’t actually physically building it and the materials that you’re going to need or do any of those, but it’s one step towards that direction. One steps towards that three-dimensional feedback that actually is required to inform and make a better product, make a better design, make a better engineering structure.
I think that that taking away the boring part of it or the base part of it, the things that are unnecessary for you to re-create because they exist, that’s always an important critical part in getting people going and getting them onto a project and getting them into it.
I really do like the idea and I hope that they’re able to achieve it, of adding the building data. Even if there’s a way to have people add to what they’re doing around the world and add building data. We had this thing happen here right in our neighborhood this weekend where one of our neighbors, who is actually a guy who is in real estate investment, and we have a lot of kids in our neighborhood. All the kids were out playing around the houses this weekend. There’s this drone that is flying around. What’s going on? It’s my neighbor Mark. I say, “Hey, Mark. What are you doing?” He’s practicing. He’s learning to fly this drone for the purpose of evaluating real estate and is learning about flying over houses and then using the camera on board to see where he is when he can’t even see the drone over the top of a house.
They use it to evaluate areas that are hard to get at on properties that they’re investing in. That’s just really one small step away from being able to, either through taking a bunch of photos of a building or some other way of scanning it, to have data that you can upload. It’s becoming so common. This guy is not a drone enthusiast.
He’s a business person who just got a drone and he’s using it for this other purpose. If you can add building data and certainly if you did have better accurate information on the pyramids and the Sphinx and all sorts of different landmarks around the world that are really built into the topography but are not the topography itself, wow. That’s going to be really powerful.
I also think it’s going to be really inspirational to get kids to go further. That’s really what I kept thinking about when you were talking about the pyramids. I personally have seen them. I saw them as a child. The impression that that left on me, it’s something that I can’t even explain to most people. Like, “The pyramids are amazing.” They’re beyond amazing.
To have experienced that at an age at which that was so impressionable, what does it do? Does it make you want to do something in engineering that’s an incredible feat? Does it push you to go further and want to travel, want to learn other languages, to give you that broader worldview?
It requires a compare and contrast. I really love the idea of how Jason was talking about that. Holding something in your hand and understanding what that is compared to the height of your school and the height of your local mountain. That understanding puts a context in place that you don’t normally get from a computer model. Our eyes are fooled and our brains are fooled by those computer models all the time.
They are, especially when you’re just looking at it in the computer. Even for experienced engineers and designers, looking at relative size or spacing from one part to another. You look in the computer, “Yeah, there’s plenty of space there.”
There’s more than enough tolerance, there’s more than enough clearance. When you build it, it’s like, “Wow, it really didn’t work out that way.” Seeing it firsthand or physically in your hands, feeling it, three-dimensional space, makes a huge difference.
I’m really impressed with what Sightline Maps is doing. I think the whole industry of mapping and, like I was talking about on the episode, the idea of how our roads are doing, what’s going on with autonomous cars. All of this is really coming to a culmination at a really interesting point. The idea of being able to print these things out, test them, understand them.
You and I know, when he was talking about what the military do, that’s step one. We see over here, off at Camp Pendleton, in the San Clemente area, we see them actually physically build models of things that are out in the desert somewhere and run a physical campaign.
They’re running drills all the time who knows where in the world they’re practicing for. Whether it’s Afghanistan or wherever. They actually build structures and put them in the closest context they can to reality and then run a drill of raiding something or saving people or whatever.
I’ve seen them do it where you’ll see them actually rebuild those structures at times. Sometimes when you drive through you’ll see them actually physically putting the structures in. They’ll bring in more sand and they’ll bring in more dirt. They’re changing the topography.
Being able to do that is going to save lives and going to make it safer for them to go in and run one of these actual intercepts that they need to do. I think that that idea of that accuracy is really interesting and really critically important in a commercial and in a government situation, in a military situation.
I think that we discount that from our own perceptive ideas, that our kids need to have that expectation of accuracy as well. The more accurate it can be, the better learning experience is. I’m all for it. If we’re educating the future designers of more autonomous cars and all of these things, we don’t want them to not be able to see trees and people and the criticism of what’s going on with it right now.
Are we ready to be rolling stuff like that out when it’s not as accurate as it should be? This is a problem you and I see all the time in the product design world. They’re like, “It’s okay. It’s a minimum viable product. Let’s put it out and test it in the real world.” In the physical car product world, that’s not okay.
The recent Samsung recall of the batteries in those Galaxy 7 phones is another good example. Clearly, this product was not tested enough. If it had been tested properly, they would have experienced those batteries blowing up in the lab and would’ve re-engineered the circuitry so that that wouldn’t happen. This is a classic problem and it’s all about rushing things to market.
That’s what I find really interesting about what Sightline Maps is doing here, is that because you’re putting them into these schools, because you’re going to put them out there, you’re actually getting more real-world testing in a more safe and less risky environment than what you’re eventually going to roll it out into in terms of military campaigns or other things. You’re getting some of that used.
That’s really what happens, is that we see this so often with 3D printer companies and other things, that the big problem is that the people doing the testing. I guarantee this is the case at Samsung, the people doing the testing don’t understand the real world usage of their product. They think they do because they’re like, “We use a phone.” Do you use a phone as much as a seventeen year old teenager does? I don’t think so. It’s a different model of it.
The 3D printers is the same way. They print their test models and they go, “It’s good enough.” They don’t print what you and I print and we know that they don’t all work that way. That’s really what we say here. When you’re going to put out a product and you’re going to do these things, it’s important to find a way to actually get them tested with people who are actually going to use them in the situation but do it in a safe way.
Instead of beta rolling out to consumers. I hate beta tests, rollouts like that. People can choose to do it or not do it. It’s at their risk, but beta has become, “I’ll just put the model on the market and we’re selling it.” It’s not an opt in beta testing with a small group of people. Software works that way but most hard products do not. It’s very hard to do with a physical product. They probably wouldn’t do it.
Really interesting here. I really hope that they are able to reach as many schools as possible. That’s something that we talked with Jason about. The Kickstarter is over but there should still be ways on their website to help get another school enrolled. Like a sponsor a school or get your school enrolled. You as a parent can do that or you as a teacher can do that.
They need help. The money is there to help transition a school and get them enrolled and get them understanding what the membership of it. It also is a lifetime perpetual membership to the Sightline Maps site. That’s what he said. It’s not just a yearly subscription. It’s basically, once you’re in, your in from a school situation.
It’s on SightlineMaps.com. Of course, you can always find us anywhere on social media @3DStartPoint. If any of you out there are teachers or you know that your school is already using Sightline Maps, please reach out to us.
Send us some photos, show us how you’ve used this in some projects or how your school have used this in some projects. We’d love to see it and add that to the blog post as time goes on. Definitely reach out to us. Either email us or anywhere on social media @3DStartPoint.
Jason is the Co-founder and Director of Operations at Sightline Maps. He began his career as a Supply and Logistics Officer in the United States Navy. During six years of service, he helped lead the Navy’s additive manufacturing implementation effort, negotiated innovation research and missile procurement contracts, and led teams of 90 sailors on two separate deployments to the Persian Gulf.
Jason has a B.A. from Trinity College in Hartford, CT and an MBA from Babson College, F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business.
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