FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – Oh, the Things You can Print

They say you can find anything on the Web. Thanks to 3D printing, that’s truer than ever. The kinds of stuff you can download just got a lot cooler and, in some cases, much freakier.

For the uninitiated, 3D printing involves laying down successive layers of material – often plastic or a liquid resin – to create solid, three-dimensional objects. For now, these printers are mostly the domain of the tech-savvy DIY and Maker crowds because they’re great for rapid prototyping and other design projects, but the time is probably not far away when affordable desktop 3D printers will be available.

Put simply, sometime in the near future, it probably won’t be that unusual to print an iPhone case. Early adopters are already doing it.

Clients take note: If your business makes something – as in an actual, physical thing – 3D printing has the potential to change your industry. Forever. I’m talking as much as blogs and social media have changed this former print newspaper reporter’s trade.

How and when this happens are up for debate, but there are plenty of innovative companies in this space. MakerBot and Shapeways are two notable 3D printing companies based in New York.

But enough about the business end of things. It’s FreakyFriday, and you were promised freakiness. Well, 3D printing can deliver on that front, right in your home, in successive layers of resin. Here are three of the coolest, weirdest and/or freakiest things being done on 3D printers.

1) Your face. Or your mom’s face. Anybody’s, really.

This one probably wins. Tech blog Gizmodo had an article this week about Brooklyn artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, who is printing theoretical 3D faces of strangers from their discarded DNA. That is, she’s lifting genetic material from cigarette butts, wads of gum and stray hairs found on the streets of New York, creating rough likenesses via computer based on ethnicity, age, gender and other factors and then printing them out.

And you thought Facebook’s facial recognition was freaky.

2) Magazines.

As in high-capacity gun magazines. Austin-based Defense Distributed is spearheading what it calls the Wiki Weapons project to develop printable firearms and ammunition. This week, Talking Points Memo reported on its IdeaLab blog that the organization demonstrated that it had successfully created a working, printable gun magazine be named in honor of New York’s pro-gun-control governor, Andrew Cuomo.

3) Human organs.

This one is still down the road, but, according to Mashable, Scottish scientists are working to create a 3D printer capable of replicating human organs via stem cells. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but for lack of a better sentence: Wow – science!

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – World’s Dumbest Criminals Foiled by Facebook

By: iCopywriter Senior Editor, Heather Price-Wright

For this month’s edition of “People Who Should Not Be Allowed to Have Facebook Accounts,” we bring you the two geniuses who recently robbed an Internet café near Cali, Columbia.

According to Gizmodo, the two men walked into the café, sat for a few minutes on computers and then, as they went to “pay,” instead robbed the cafe administrator at gunpoint.

He called the police. Upon examining the computers the thieves had rented, the police found that one of the men had neglected to log out of his Facebook account. Not only that, but his address was listed on his Facebook page. The police headed to his house, arrested him, and threw him in jail.

Now, we’ve all had silly pranks played on us when we’ve accidentally left our Facebook accounts open on public computers, from having our statuses changed to something embarrassing, to having our profile pictures switched out for, shall we say, unsavory images. We’ve lived and learned. But this takes the cake when it comes to reasons not to forget to log out of Facebook (not to mention reasons not to commit armed robbery).

Do you have a horror story about forgetting to log out of Facebook? We want to hear it!

Have you checked out lately?