A Different Kind of 3D Modelling

The Critical Making Lab currently deals mostly with 3d printing and its impact but researchers at Queen’s University have taken 3d modelling in a different direction. Learn all about it here.

Dr. Ratto in ‘We Make Things’

Dr. Ratto is one of the many experts featured in ‘We Make Things,’ a short film about DIY technoculture.

Critical Making on Display at Made in Toronto



A new exhibition has opened at University of Toronto, focusing on locally made objects and the Critical Making lab is heavily featured. Come down to Made in Toronto at Victoria College, 73 Queens Park Crescent, to check it out!

Is a Prosthetic A Limb or Just A Piece of Property?

In a perfect future, the Critical Making lab will have outfitted a prosthetic limb on everyone who needs one. But as technology becomes more advanced, the divide between person and prosthetic becomes thinner. Motherboard explores the legal ramifications of improved prosthetics and asks whether damage to a prosthetic should count as personal or property damage.

Curation at the Critical Making Lab

A critical foundation of Critical Making is, of course, the act of making, the creation of an object from spare parts or specially created components, and the exploration and critique of the process. So what happens when the maker is done making?

That’s where I come in. I’m the curator at the Critical Making Lab. When the researchers are done with an object, it’s my turn to play!

My duties involve cataloguing the objects, deciding which objects should be kept and which should be recycled, finding a place to store them and (the fun part!) organizing them into exhibitions. As a non-researcher, my background is a little different from most of the other lab residents – I’m actually a Museum Studies student, albeit one with a bit of an intellectual crush on emergent technologies.

Be still, my heart! Source.

There are a lot of challenges to being lab curator.

I’m the new girl and I just don’t have the context I need for many of my objects, especially since I don’t have a background in any sort of computer or electrical work. The big, fancy ones are pretty easy because I can Google them. It’s not hard to find information on things like the prosthetic sockets or blind tennis; they were pretty well-publicized projects. But I would frequently quickly catalogue an object which I thought was just a test print and move on. Then, days later, someone would walk by and casually mention that the object I had set aside was, in fact, part of some terribly significant and interesting project. I’m lucky in that everyone in the lab is quite friendly and willing to share their knowledge but it’s hard to get answers when you don’t even know what questions you need to ask.

Painting robot 4

Random junk or super cool robot components?

There’s also the fact that the Critical Making Lab is not a museum space. Displaying objects is a secondary concern. Every decision I make has to take functionality into account. Yes, I can mount part of my exhibition on that shelving unit there but it’s right next to the full-body scanner, so people might need that space. Yes, I can create a beautiful and elaborate slideshow with multiple components to show off every aspect of the lab but who’s got time to update something that involved once I’m gone?

But hey, even if the job has its challenges, I wouldn’t change it for the world. And if I occasionally end up shirtless in the lab on a weekend because I needed a black backdrop for photography and it was the only black cloth I had, well, it’s just another day in the life of a Critical Making Lab curator!

The Darker Side of 3D Printing

3D  printing may potentially change manufacturing and our culture as a whole. But is it really all sunshine and roses? Lab curator Rowena McGowan explores the issue of 3D printed guns on the University of Toronto Museum Studies program blog.

Saving the Ocean Through Footwear?!

Here in the Critical Making Lab, we’re always interested in new technological innovations. That’s why we were so curious about Adidas’ plan to 3D print sneakers from ocean plastic. Read the story here.

A short video on the PrintAbility project

Interested in seeing how the Critical Making Lab’s PrintAbility project works? iPrintability has you covered.

All About The Critical Making Lab’s Partner, Nia Technologies

printAbility is one of the many exciting projects that Critical Making Lab researchers are involved with. It focuses on creating the infrastructure for making customized leg prosthetics in the developing world. Learn about the lab’s partner in this work, Nia Technologies, here.

iSchool Lecture: Morality in Video Games

Games increasingly promote morality systems. Mia Consalvo, CRC in Game Studies and Design, Concordia University, will discuss players’ understandings of moral dilemmas in video games in a talk titled ‘Playing (as) a better me: Choice, moral affordances and video games’ on January 21 in Bissell 728, 140 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario. More information here.

Cory Doctorow ‘Makers’ signing – Nov. 12 at 7pm

November 12, 2009matt.rattoRelated Work0

This is happening right down the street from the University, at the Toronto Public Library:

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