What we find in the details often expands our universe and challenges previous perceptions. James Parr wanted to explore space since he was a young child, and with the aid of 3D printing and Microsoft, he found a way to bring his passion to others with his project, the Ultrascope. Founder of the collective, OSA (Open Space Agency), James applied his fascination with design to stargazing and created a robotic observatory capable of taking professional grade photographs.
Printed and assembled, the Ultrascope stands 1m and rests on a 65cm wide base. It is currently in Beta testing, yet OSA plans to make the 3D plans available for download via its website. The scope requires 3D printing and laser cutting capabilities as well as assembly. Over the next year and a half, OSA hopes to make more sophisticated designs, and Microsoft is developing a process to include the Lumina. The Lumina allows for 41-megapixel photography thereby providing the quality of photos people can take of space from home. There is a brief outline informing curious printers how to use the observatory.
The head of Imaging Technologies at Microsoft, Juha Alakarhu offered his support:
“We’ve seen many inspired people create and capture amazing things using the powerful cameras on our smartphones, and looking deep in to space with the Lumia 1020 is a remarkable example of this consumer innovation again. It’s great to see that the efforts of James Parr and the OSA with the Ultrascope, and I look forward to seeing the images as they continue to shape this exciting project. It’s wonderful to think this could be available to the masses in the near future”
James, an aficionado of the details in design that bring us closer to grand exploration, describes his impetus: “We’re inspired that we live in an era where consumer technology now allows us to do things that were only exclusively available to professionals just a few years ago. Keen amateur astronomers can now download this design and software, 3D print and assemble their own hardware, which is an amazing development. It opens up opportunities for people who have been gazing at the stars their whole lives, but haven’t, until now, been able to get involved. Powered by Lumia smartphones, our hope is that hundreds of Ultrascopes will be assembled, enabling a large number of people to contribute to new discoveries as they explore the night sky.”
When we look out, to each other or to the celestial majesty, we discover truths hidden in ourselves. Sometimes those revelations are scary or daunting, but they can be inspiring and full of truths forgotten in daily grinds. James Parr took his dream and his vision and plans to share it with all of us ready to embrace 3D printing.