Last month we highlighted the potential dangers of 3D Printers following an incident where 3D Printer gun parts were found at a raid in Manchester. However, this month we observe a positive use for them as one charity, The Charity Kids Company adopted the technology to print Christmas toys for impoverished children in the UK. Through a new scheme “Print Happiness”, a shop in Soho with six 3D printing machines was opened to the public from 13th December – 18th December. Members of the public had the opportunity to select a toy to print and then watch the toy being printed whilst contributing a £5 donation to the scheme. There were six toys to choose from ranging from Wallace and Gromit Characters to designs by Tado and Triclops as well as Ultimaker. The toys that were generated were then subsequently distributed to over 4,000 children on Christmas day.
This inspiring initiative demonstrates how modern technology can be used in very positive ways when put in the right hands. Thousands of children were given a proper Christmas for the first time ever and experienced the feeling of opening a present on Christmas day, something most of us are accustomed to year in year out.
Over 6 billion people in the world now have mobile phones, yet only a quarter of people in developing countries have access to the Internet. With this in mind, a UK based company Datawind has recently launched an affordable Android based tablet, named the Aakash 2 with a price tag of £30 in the UK. For your money you get a 7 inch tablet with Wi-Fi connectivity, 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and a MicroUSB connection. The tablet has a 3 hour battery life allowing buyers to watch videos, play games and surf the Internet.
The founder Suneet Singh Tuli had one goal in mind when developing this tablet – an affordable way for people to browse the Internet who might not otherwise have the means to do so. With the help of the Indian Government, Mr Tuli claims his tablet has become one of India’s best selling tablets. Furthermore he won an award for the UK’s most innovative mobile company in a government run competition in 2012.
The Aakash was originally released in India to help students with their education and learning. It will be mass produced from January 2014 with the aim of offering it to schools throughout India at a quarter of its normal selling price. The cost of the hardware is offset by revenues generated from sales and advertising. Whilst it’s not exactly an iPad or a Samsung tablet, it has achieved its intended aim of making the Internet accessible to a higher percentage of people worldwide and for the price, its actually quite impressive. Whether it will be taken up by the mass market in the UK in quite the same way as it has been in India is doubtful but it may prove useful for children nonetheless as a learning tool or their first computer like experience.