Carla Diana is a designer, maker-futurist, tech tinkerer, writer, educator and the author creator of LEO the Maker Prince. I met Carla at the Core77 Conference in Brooklyn where 200 designers from all disciplines gathered for a conversation about ideas, techniques and trends.
She noted that as designers we are fascinated by new technologies but in order for them to become part of everyday life they need to be introduced through human context and meaningful stories. Creating playful future scenarios is one way designers can guide acceptance of new technologies. So Carla conceived a children's story book and object lesson that illustrates the possible future of 3D printing.
More than a Book
Given the challenge of how to spread inventive use of 3D printing, and with big nod to Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, Carla created a story that includes a cast of characters that can be downloaded and 3D printed as real objects. In a wonderful cycle of creative imagination readers of this charming story print out real objects that they can then place into new fictional settings of their own making—creating new stories!
Carla expected remixing and inventive adaptation. There is an iconic white sheep in the story— secretly she waited for someone to make the first black sheep. When it happened one of her goals as the designer was met. And for Carla it just keeps getting better and better as more makers create more inventive scenarios.
Unexpected Adventures and New Ways to Learn
In another charming twist in the adventures of Leo, a library in Scotland has found new uses for a 3D printers during story hour. This library has found a new level of interaction for children and adults who have learning or physical disabilities. Nicky Welch, who runs a learning disabled creative writing group at the library said, “We are about to start work on writing our own play and we hope to print out the characters we invent."
From Inquiring Minds perspective this is just the beginning of whole new pathways to learning. New fabrication technologies have enormous potential and by putting these inventive tools into the hands of kids we can jump-start the future.
Fab Labs take note and get started creating!