3D Printing

REAL 2016 – I Get 3D Printing, But What's the Deal with Reality Computing?

I’ve been away from 3DPI for a while because I was asked to Co-Chair REAL 2016, a unique 3D technology event happening on March 8th and 9th at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.  The reason I took the job is because the event conceptualizes why 3D printing is part of a larger ecosystem of technologies focused around capturing reality (laser scanning, photogrammetry, multi-sensor registration), working with spatial data (CAD, physical modeling, computational design, simulation), and using data to interact with and influence the physical world (augmented/virtual reality, projector systems, CNC machining, robotics). This conceptualization is called Reality Computing, which 3DPI has covered numerous times in the past.

For me, Reality Computing widened my perception of 3D printing’s identity among companion 3D technologies, and expanded the context of 3D printing into a larger ecosystem of converging 3D technology.  Reality Computing underscores this convergence of design, making, and sensing technologies and I believe that the event provides a unique opportunity to analyze and interpret various interoperability issues among these technologies.

TRDLast year’s inaugural event was great, but an interesting new addition to this year’s show is The REAL Deal, a startup competition that will be held on the first day of REAL 2016, on March 8th.  If you will be in San Francisco at that time and want to enter your company into the competition, here’s what you need to know:

Your company must be a start-up in the product development phase, have a functional prototype or product to demo, and you must not have raised any more than $2.5 million USD in funding.  Selected companies will receive admission and free demo space at the interactive REAL Live pavilion for the duration of the event.  You will have up to 15 minutes to pitch and receive feedback from venture capitalists who have a vested interest in Reality Computing startups. Each of the selected startups will receive immediate feedback from these experienced venture capitalists who will deliberate and choose one participant as winner of the best Reality Computing startup of 2016.  The winner will receive 1 hour of private office hours with each VC judge, including Zach Schildhorn, a partner with LUX Capital who led investments in such phenomenal companies as Shapeways, SOLS Systems, and Matterport.

I’m also happy to report that we’ve put some really phenomenal content together for the REAL 2016 event, in general.  We have some mind-blowing interactive exhibits lined up to give attendees hands-on experience to grasp what Reality Computing is all about, and many truly phenomenal speakers lined up. A few from the 3D printing industry that you might know are:


Made in Space 3D printer aboard ISS
The Made In Space Zero G Printer Installed in the ISS Glovebox.



3D printed #laugh by Eyal Gever
Gever’s digital representation of human laughter, to be made into a sculpture to be 3D printed aboard the ISS and sent out into space.

The REAL conferences are beneficial to anyone using these technologies because they bring companies, clients, and individuals together who serve different industries, different bottom lines, but who are leveraging similar hardware and software in this emerging and massive 3D tech ecosystem.  During last year’s event, the advantage that attendees had was access to a bird’s eye view of an infant industry that creates multi-faceted applications by combining 3D tech such as virtual reality, augmented reality, laser scanning, photogrammetry, computation design, digital fabrication and robotics for example. To get in on ground floor as this ecosystem grows even more, register here.