Printing 19th Century Artifacts in 3D

Martin Galese, a 31-year-old lawyer in New York, is resurrecting old patents from the 19th century and making 3D prints of them.

He has posted more than a dozen of these forgotten inventions on his blog as well as the 3-D printing design library,Thingiverse, for anyone to make today.

The New York Times Bits blog has more:

After working as an attorney in patent litigation cases, Mr. Galese said he wishes more people saw the patent archives as a rich repository, flush with freely available designs. He sometimes refers to the patent office’s archives as the “original Thingiverse,” comparing it to the rapidly growing online library of design files shared by 3-D printing hobbyists today.

Others who have seen his 3-D printing files frequently ask why he keeps posting “patented” objects online, he said, not understanding that many former patents are now in the public domain.

“People don’t think people appreciate that aspect of the patent system,” he said.

Most patents issued today last 20 years, but in the past patent protections could be shorter, sometimes lasting 17 years, sometimes less. Out of the more than 8 million patents registered in the United States, only about 2 million are still in force, according to Dennis Crouch, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Law who conducted an analysis on the subject last year.

Worth checking out is Mr. Galese’s Tumblr titled “Patent-able.”

The 3D model of the 1940s portable chess set is pretty neat.

The New York Times Innovation Issue

The New York Times recently unveiled its latest Innovation Issue, whose basic premise is to answer the question: “Who made that?”

Covered in the fascinating interactive are the origins of such things as:

I can’t figure out how to copy/paste text, but if you follow the link below, you’ll be sure to be engrossed in reading this issue for hours!

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Appsurd: The Jokester Apps in Silicon Valley

The Wall Street Journal profiles a few apps/services which have launched in Silicon Valley, but have been regarded as fake. When the goal is to push something out there, even if it’s a joke, how do people respond? As the founder of Jotly said, “Let’s think of the most ridiculous possible app that no one would ever consider a real thing, and make that…”

On the TacoCopter:

Meanwhile, the creators of TacoCopter, a service for delivering tacos with drone-like miniature helicopters, would love to have their idea taken so seriously.

After the project’s website got noticed in March, comedian Stephen Colbert and others treated it as a farce, and tech-news site Wired.com called it “completely fake.” (A Wired spokesman declined to comment.) Federal regulations prohibit commercial use of such devices.

But the creators say that they fully intend to launch the venture once the law changes, and one of them recently held a test flight overseas with the help of some fans. (The test aircraft crashed seconds after the taco was placed on board.)

So how do you differentiate all the apps out there?

Those seeking inspiration for the perfect pitch—or prank—might look at Itsthisforthat.com, which generates often absurd capsule descriptions of Internet start-ups by mashing up existing business concepts and buzzwords.

The site, which according to its creators has attracted more than 100,000 unique visitors, asks “Wait, what does your start-up do?” and follows with an ever-rotating set of descriptions such as “So, basically, it’s like a Google Analytics for Laundromats,” or, “like a news recommender for beer,” or, “like an Airbnb for restrooms,” a reference to the room-rental exchange for tourists.

Fun stuff.