Are you familiar with the old-fashioned printing process?
It’s not like what the printing process is now where you click the “Print Command” and “Enter” and the printer starts generating text and images that appear on paper.
Old-Style Printing Process
The old-fashioned style of printing was where people (in charge of printing) arranged blocks of wooden type (letters) onto the old-fashioned crank presses, and inserted page after page of blank paper manually.
The Hamilton Ink Spot
This is how Hamilton Ink Spot in downtown St. Paul in Minnesota is doing their printing business – the old-fashioned way. The two-manual printing presses can accommodate three to four users daily along with the four screen-printing stations at the Hamilton Ink Spot. Where other printing companies would invest in the latest and updated new printing presses, Hamilton Ink Spot decided to give new life to the old printing equipment which belongs to Bill Moran whose family has been running a print shop for three generations in Green Bay in Wisconsin.
Bill Moran, together with Monica Edwards Larson, the studio manager, operates the business for printers to have co-working space. Each member has to pay a membership fee of $150 per month to have access to the shop’s printing equipment and a gallery space to sell their art. The members use Google Calendar to reserve time so that they may use a particular piece of equipment.
Moran explained that many people don’t understand what is involved in manual printmaking which is very different from printing from computers – press a key and words, etc comes out of a box-like piece of equipment. And through Hamilton Ink Spot, they envision making more people aware of the “real” printing process.
Letterpress And Screen-Printing
Screen-printing and letterpresses are the specializations accessed by members of Hamilton Ink Spot. That means anything from:
- Greeting cards
- Art prints
- Gig posters for local bands
Hamilton Ink Spot is already gaining a substantial following much like the crowd driving the handmade and do-it-yourself movements. According to Moran, he sees this as a natural reaction to the “impersonal” behavior of modern mass-produced paper products. And Hamilton Ink Spot is slowly changing that by reviving the old-style of printing.
Born Out Of Big Table Studio
The Hamilton Ink Spot started as Big Table Studio in 2011, in a storefront on the east side of the Lawson Commons building. The office of St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman approached a local graphic designer and printmaker Peet Fetsch about installing an arts-related business in the building owned by the city. Fetsch opened Big Table Studio where he adopted CoCo’s co-working concept while the city envisioned Big Table Studio as an art gallery. The members of Big Table Studio who were mainly printmakers and graphic designers rented a seat around an 8’ x 20’ table at the back area of the gallery.
Hamilton Ink Spot: Continuing Big Table Studio’s Legacy
Moran, on the other hand, with his consultancy and printing business, decided in November 2012 to move to Big Table Studio as he was keen to work alongside printmakers like himself. The set-up at the Big Table Studio – with the workspace and opportunity for collaboration, except that they found it difficult to reach the audience for their work, and most of the time, the seats never got filled. That struggle caused membership numbers to fluctuate. And in March 2014, Fetsch shut down the shop. Moran talked to the city officials and decided to pick up where Fetsch left off with Monica Edwards Larson volunteering to help.
Co-Working, Gallery, And Outreach
And in June 2014, Moran and Edwards Larson opened Hamilton Ink Spot – with the name coming from the shop’s sponsor Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Both Moran and Edwards Larson were determined to adopt the same operational principles as Big Table Studio. In addition to keeping the co-working aspects and the art gallery, Hamilton Ink Studio is also keen on opportunities to reach out to communities through projects and education. In September 2014 Hamilton Ink Spot was a finalist in the St. Paul Knight Arts Challenge and they were among the winners.
They received an award of $50,000 and their goal is to expand which will include letterpress and screen, printing classes. Hamilton Ink Spot also wants to establish a drop-in studio for families and individuals, a print cooperative for mid-career artists, paid internships, a mentorship program for high school-age artists, a mobile printmaking program serving K-12 students, and exhibitions of local, regional, and nationally recognized artists. The grant period is from 9/29/2014 to 9/30/2016.
Does your community have a printing company doing old-style printing?
New mRNA Technology to Remake Vaccine Research and Production
Messenger RNA, or mRNA, is the central technology behind the rapid creation of the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines. Known as cell-based vaccine technology, mRNA mimics the way cells generate proteins that activate immune responses. The process provides advantages over old vaccine production methods that relied on culturing viruses within eggs. Cell-based technology allows for increased vaccine efficacy and makes it possible for manufacturing facilities to produce multiple vaccine products at the same time.
Marriage of Biology and Computation Power
The scientific discipline of bioinformatics sequences DNA, which produces RNA messengers to carry out its functions. Modern advances in computational power speed this process and help researchers learn how to manipulate the immune response. As a result, scientists increasingly have the means of controlling dangerous viruses, like coronavirus and Ebola. In terms of vaccine production, the new method increases vaccine yields, purity, and potency.
The breakthroughs resulting from bioinformatics and mRNA will require a new generation of production equipment, including bioreactors and fermenters. Demand for such vaccines will be high around the world due to the devastation and economic disruption caused by outbreaks and pandemics.
Vast Potential Beyond Coronavirus
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has focused the global research and pharmaceutical industries on vaccine development and production. Science could bring many viruses under control, such as Zika, Epstein-Barr, or Lassa. The massive global efforts that delivered a coronavirus vaccine in under a year will also be called upon as new viruses emerge. Variations of influenza could threaten human populations at any time.
Higher Demand for Refrigeration Equipment
At this point, mRNA vaccines must be stored and transported at extremely low temperatures. The Pfizer vaccine must be kept at -70 Celsius, and the Moderna vaccine needs a temperature of -20 Celsius. Pfizer already maintains massive freezer farms for holding vaccines.
As the global population continues to cope with coronavirus and future threats, refrigeration manufacturers could experience greater demand for their products. Let us know if your industry expects additional business due to the ballooning growth of vaccine production.
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GM Announces Plans To Launch Self-Driving Taxis As Early As 2019
General Motors (GM) has announced ambitious plans for a 2019 commercial launch of autonomous taxis, which the company aims to release in multiple cities. Described as a direct challenge to other autonomous vehicle tech ventures, including Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Uber Technologies, the move represents a large step forward for prevalence of self-driving vehicles in everyday life.
Image Source: Wikimedia
Autonomous Taxis In A Matter Of Months
With the success of the electric Chevrolet Bolt, its acquisition of Cruise Automation last year, and its $500 million investment in ride-sharing company Lyft also in 2016, GM’s move into the autonomous ride-hauling service race isn’t much of a surprise, but their claim that they can make this roll-out a reality in such a short time has turned a lot of heads. “If we continue on our current rate of change we will be ready to deploy this technology, in a large scale, in the most complex environments, in 2019,” GM President Dan Ammann said.
A Goal For Safe, Low-Cost Transportation
Ammann also stated that safety would be the deciding factor on when driverless taxis ultimately hit city streets. GM did not name specific locations for their launch but for “dense urban environments”. They have also stressed the economic benefits for riders. GM’s CFO Chuck Stevens has said that with the launch of their autonomous taxis, “We have a path to take 40 percent of the cost out of ride services,” taking charges to less than $1 per mile by 2025 compared to roughly $2.50 per mile today according to a Reuters’ report.
Image Source: The Detroit News
Who Will Win The Self-Driving Race?
While GM has the right umbrella of capabilities to make this type of autonomous launch a reality in less than two years, Uber, Waymo, and other companies are closing in on the race to get autonomous taxis deployed in major cities and adjacent suburbs. Whatever company will be most successful with their brand is not yet clear, but one thing appears sure: public access to autonomous vehicles is just around the corner.
What are your thoughts on GM’s plans? Comment and tell us what you think of this story.
Artificial Muscles May Create A Softer, Stronger Robot
Most robots are comprised of metal and hard plastic, which ensures their stability but it’s not always the most ideal structure for more dynamic strength and safe interaction with humans. A new type of robot “muscle” could serve to remedy those limitations while expanding capabilities.
Image Source: Wired
Origami-Inspired With Enhanced Strength
Researchers at the Wyss Institute of Harvard and MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) recently announced the creation of artificial muscles that can be incorporated into a range of robotic skeletons and enable them to greatly extend their lifting capabilities. The structure of the muscle system has been inspired by the complex geometric folds of origami creations. The muscle is able to lift 1000 times its own weight and is meant to be filled with a layer of air or water, which enables it to function based on controlled variations in pressure.
Image Source: Wired
Flexible And Inexpensive
The vacuum maintained within the layers of the muscle system helps balance strength with a softer touch. The system is fairly versatile and can be closely fitted to a robot’s skeletal frame, as it requires only air and water to function under the control of the vacuum. This also contributes to their lower cost—researchers state that a muscle can be created in roughly ten minutes with fabric or plastic-based materials that cost less than a dollar.
Will this system help give future robots a more deft touch with greatly enhanced strength? Comment and tell us your thoughts on this development.
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