Science

MSF14: The Sounds of Others/3D: Printing The Future

I’ve loved Manchester Science Festival – I’ve not managed to get to everything, as usual there’s so much on, I would need a clone or two to fit it all in. But two of my favourite bits have been the exhibitions running at MOSI for the entire duration. (And they’re still on now).

The Sounds of Others exhibition was created by Marcus Coates, along with help from Geoff Sample, a specialist in wildlife recordings.

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Marcus has taken sounds from nature – from crickets, to birdsong, from blue whales to red deer and adjusted them, slowed them down or speeded them up to discover the similarities, animal to animal.

And it’s astonishing.

Slow down human children and they sound incredibly like red deer. Speed up gibbons and they sound like canaries.

The chain moves from species to species, mammal to bird to insect we are connected by our voices.

The second exhibition that I had a very early preview of was 3D: Printing the future.

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It’s easy to dismiss 3D printing – if you think of small plastic objects, most of the things that spring to mind are toys, dice – bits and pieces we’re used to looking to China or Taiwan for.

But there’s so much more to see.

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Printed fabric has led to printed knickers. Yes. You did read that right. Printed underwear.

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Renishaw had created the first 3D printed bike frame – meaning it’s incredibly strong and light – but I suspect it may be a little while before I order one for Mr GFB.

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Art and craft get a look in too – using 3D printing to create moving objects.

But there are some incredibly important uses too. Medicine being the most intriguing for me – having worked in that field for several years.

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Not only, through both 3D imaging and 3D printing, can you create a perfectly matched piece of material to fit a hole, replace a bone fragment or recreate a piece of skull to mould a dental fitting on (thus vastly reducing time for the patient under anaesthetic), but you can also create tools, to perfectly fit the job.

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And the strides being made in maxillofacial and dental surgery are incredible.

Yes, you can print a rocket ship, a chair for a dolls house, a chess piece or a keyring.

But you can also do so much more.

The Sounds of Others will be on at the Museum of Science and Industry until 22 November and 3D: Printing the Future will be on until April 2015.

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