It’s the start of another year. This means the most important event for those interested in consumer electronics and the latest technology is here, well almost. That’s right the annual festival of how the digital world is shaping our lives and how we can take control of the future has already happened. But not in Las Vegas.

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) hosted it’s annual meeting in Hamburg, Germany. The Chaos Communication Congress (33C3) was attended by over 12,000 people, a fraction of the number who were eager to get one of the coveted tickets. 3D printing was an unmissable presence at the event. The event is a, “four-day conference on technology, society and utopia.”

A presenter asks the some of the 12,000 attendees (before they hear a presentation from Prof. Sascha Friesike), “who has managed to walk around the congress center without seeing a 3D printer outside?” Only one person raises their hand.

Who needs bat country when you could be in .bat country?

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) began in 1981 and is, “one of most influential civil society organisations dealing with the security and privacy aspects of technology in the German-speaking world.” As we reported earlier this week Germany is keen to lead in the digital world.

A "smart" hairbrush from CES 2017.

A “smart” hairbrush from CES 2017.

In recent years visitors to the congress have enjoyed presentations using 3D printing in remarkable ways, and some true Maker spirit.

And as one U.S. attendee remarked what, “really stands out about the CCC, at least from an American perspective, is the presence of women and children. Let’s face it, US hacker conventions are not family friendly, and some of them can be downright unwelcoming to women.”

In 2015, the 32nd event saw PT Scientist Karsten Becker speak about the group’s plans to put a 3D Printing microwave on the moon and Julia Longtin of HacDC regaled a captivated audience about how to open source the automotive industry with a 3D printer, a stack of bike rims and another microwave. If you just received a 3D printer for Christmas maybe don’t try this particular project at home straight away.

Edible robots and 3D scanning with lasers in space

This most recent conference included presentations on what we can learn about creativity from 3D printing. Prof Sascha Friesike talked about a three year project where the team,  “interviewed more than 80 creators and surveyed over 200 more” 3D designers from file sharing site Thingiverse. The conclusions included the observation that, “we were struck by how important remixing is for the creative process we see in the 3D printing community.”

The presentation “Copywrongs 2.0” provides a heads up on legal changes that could see an end to 3D design sharing. And from an earlier event the process of 3D printing 4D things is examined.

Atari announced "System X" at CES in 1982.

Atari announced “System X” at CES in 1982.

Space travel with lasers may sound far fetched, but as the presenter of a talk entitled, “Lasers in the sky (with asteroids)” explained, this is already a reality.  With a PhD in Astrophysics from the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics, Peter Buschkamp would know. Photonic laser thrust for interplanetary travel and using laser sensing with LIDAR for 3D scanning the Earth from space were just 2 of the many fascinating areas he spoke about.

Making edible robots could be handy if the output of Boston Dynamics does become self aware and tired of endless bullying. During the congress Kari Love, who is a soft roboticist at Super-Releaser, gave a presentation about using candy as an engineering material. Love considers, “eating an object to be a high-level form of interactivity.”

Testing the Big Dog, Skynet may frown upon this in the future.

Testing the Big Dog, Skynet may frown upon this in the future.

“The high priests of the digital age are working…..”

Importantly CCC is a forum not just focused on a gleaming future. The event is well known for taking an informed, and sometimes critical look at how we got where we are, and whether we are heading in the right direction.

So if you need a break from the bright lights and plethora of “tech” sites trying to convince you that Artificial Intelligence is not fake news over next few days then check out the congress archives here, or better yet DIY!

Don’t forget you can nominate Makers for our 1st Annual 3D Printing Industry Awards.

Another announcement from CES 2017.

Another announcement from CES 2017.

Featured image by 3DPI’s Beau Jackson, with apologies to Swift on Security.

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