When talking about designing for the fringe I generally write about disenfranchised humans, but there are also disenfranchised groups all over the animal kingdom.
Consider the rhino, an endangered population. In 2013 there was a total rhino species population of 28,845. 1,200 were poached in South Africa in 2014. The Irish Examiner estimates that 95 percent of the world’s rhino population has been lost to poaching in the last 40 years. Yikes!
The rhino is widely misunderstood in the animal kingdom.
They're considered assholes.
Their horns are considered sacred in Traditional Chinese medicine.
This misunderstanding means the horns cost as much as gold on the black market. The dwindling populations, misunderstanding and exploitation firmly puts them in the fringe of the animal kingdom.
Oh Rhino, my hero
Besides being adorably huge, these animals provide a unique role in the animal kingdom: they're the original firefighter. (I submit an over-the-top promotional video about the rhino's firefighting habits.)
3D Printing to save the rhinos?
I'm enthralled by 3D printing (3D printed arms, food) and was thrilled to read about a company who is designing with the rhino in mind. Pembient is 3D printing rhino horns. They exist to 3D print animal products like rhino horns and elephant ivory to reduce poaching.
Since rhino horns are essentially keratin, Pembient can 3D print a product that is virtually indistinguishable from a horn poached from a rhino.
Animal conservationists believe replacing natural horns with 3D printed horns is futile. They'd rather reduce consumer demand for a rhino-horn product than introduce another product into the market which may make it harder for them to track down real poachers.
I applaud Pembient's efforts and believe they can tackle the problem if they look at it from many angles.
- The people who are currently poaching are poaching for money. Where they get their income will have to be considered if we want them to stop poaching.
- If people erroneously believe the horn has medicinal properties, they may not believe the 3D printed version has those same properties. Messaging and folklore will have to be tackled so purchasers will not be concerned about the authenticity of the horns (which would drive the price of the real horns even higher).
- They'll need to work with leaders who can influence the people who believe the rhino horn is a cure-all. It will be hard to tackle legends that are a few centuries old, but it's worth the effort.
- South Africa Sees Record Year for Rhino Poaching on National Geographic
- Can 3D printing save the Rhino on Popular Science
- 3D printed horns may put rhinos at greater risk of extinction on New Scientist
- Biotech Startup Pembient Is Making Rhino Horns, Sans Rhino via TechCrunch
- Biologist aims to grow rhino horns to save animals from poachers via The Star
The presentation and my notes from my portion of the presentation at South by Southwest (SXSW). My perspective was mostly focused on the utilitarian purpose fo 3D printed food -- particularly for those with Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia).
Dysphagia is the medical term for the symptom of difficulty in swallowing. Dysphagia brings a major life change. Advancements in the word of 3D printing open the door for more people to enjoy nutritious, fresh food.
A few notes about my submission to the Panel Picker for the 2016 SXSW Interactive festival.
The US transportation system falls short for the elderly. Understanding why can make it better.
The NEA focuses an entire issue on the arts and accessibility to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. *Swoon*
Stephanie Thomas is cur8able, curating clothing and lifestyle products that are accessible /smart/ stylish for people with disabilities.
A video game, Forget-Me-Knot, helps people understand what it is like to have Alzheimer's.
BrainDance is a collaborative project bringing together dance choreographers, neuroscientists, physicians, philosophers and people with Parkinson's disease to explore movement.
Despite multiple setbacks, Frida Kahlo did not live in the world of the disenfranchised. She lived as a goddess whose entire being is a work of art.
The dying process is messy. It’s hard on everyone. It’s confusing. It’s painful. It’s the beginning of your grief. Talking about it early will help the survivors cope.
How the blind watch movies, TV and play video games.
As your parents and loved ones grow older you start to notice subtle differences in the way they live their lives. These modifications generally come after something has happened.
Crisis Mappers Network, a large, active, international community of experts, practitioners, policymakers, technologists, researchers, journalists, scholars, hackers and skilled volunteers who are using technology, crowd-sourcing and crisis mapping to answer our humanitarian needs.
A wearable device that allows you to send messages with simple gestures.
Peter and Peregrine are advocating for children and engineers to work together to create solutions.
Lisa Russell speaking about creating empowering film narratives. No more sad documentaries!