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Flickr Now Lets You Turn Your Photos Into Wall Art

Flickr as of late has been making moves to compete with newer startups, like 500px for example, that cater to professional photographers. This summer, it announced a licensing program to get photographers’ work featured on news sites, including Yahoo’s own properties, and today it’s rolling out Flickr Wall Art. For now, this program is about allowing users to turn their own photos into wall art, but it could easily set the stage for a future marketplace where top Flickr photographers sell their work to the service’s broader consumer user base.

Previously, Flickr allowed users to turn their photos into photo books, but this new print offering involves two types of Wall Art products: Premium Photo Mounts ($59 and up) and Gallery Canvas Wraps ($49 and up).

The Premium Mounts are printed on Fujicolor Color Archive Paper with a lustre finish, says Flickr, and are mounted on a 1-inch black mounting board with wood-textured edges. These also have pre-drilled holes for easy hanging.

Meanwhile, the Canvas Wraps have a professional wood frame and resemble an artist’s canvas with 1.25-inch stretcher bars. The frame has square corners and a solid back and comes with hinged hardware for hanging.

Both products are available in a range of sizes from 8×10 up to 20×30. They currently ship either Standard or Express in the U.S. only.

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On the updated Flickr.com/Create website, you can customize your Wall Art by selecting an image from your own photo collection and sets, then choosing the mount type and the size. You can also zoom in on photos and drag them around to center the part of the image you want to print before proceeding to checkout.

As noted above, the service is not yet about allowing professional photographers to sell their work to other Flickr users, but that makes sense as the next step for this sort of business – after all, many of Flickr’s users would be interested in higher-quality prints than those of their kids or dogs they took with their own smartphones. (In fact, this is already a suggestion on Yahoo’s feedback forums, as it turns out.)

You can get started with your own Wall Art creations here.

Follow this link: Flickr Now Lets You Turn Your Photos Into Wall Art

Solve Your BendGate Woes With This 3D Printed iPhone Case

Did your surprisingly tight pants bend your iPhone 6 Plus? Did your bony butt ruin your iPhone 6? Did you place your iPhone into a vice and bend it with pliers? 3D printing can help!

This pre-bent iPhone 6 case is available on Shapeways and costs $19.99. The creator, Fernando Sosa, is offering the case in multiple colors including Bent Blue, Pressure Purple, and OMG Orange. Sosa is famous for creating a “plug” shaped like Vladimir Putin.

You can also just download your own copy here and print it at home. I’d recommend editing your copy to match the bend in your own iPhone (provided you’re one of the nine people who have been actually affected by the problem.) Enjoy!

Visit link: Solve Your BendGate Woes With This 3D Printed iPhone Case

How 3D printing will impact our future: A rundown of companies to keep your eyes on

Rudy de Waele is a Technology Innovation Strategist and Author/Curator of Shift 2020.


The first time I saw a 3D-printer in action was when I participated to the Singularity University Executive Program in the spring of 2011. It was a place that offered corporate executives and entrepreneurs the tools to predict and evaluate how emerging technologies will disrupt and transform their industries, companies, careers and lives.

Since then, I have been following the explosion of 3D-printing products and services closely and it’s an integral part in most of my talks for clients and at conferences.

During the program we visited TechShop; there, we experimented with miniature 3D modeling, as well as the Autodesk offices in San Francisco. Those visits really blew my mind as I realized the broad possibilities of use and the impact 3D printing could have in many different sectors. It was incredible to see last week at the 3D-printshow in London how this industry has grown in just three years’ time.

A growing ecosystem

Everyday, more people have access to 3D-printing technology thanks to the open-source hardware DIY clubs, hacker and maker spaces and Maker Faires that popping up in cities around the globe. Good international examples are Wevolver in London and Amsterdam, the FabLabs, and the more recently, the 3D Hubs network, which grew from connecting a couple of hundred 3D-printers to more than 7,000 in less than a year’s time.

Easy access to top class 3D modeling and design apps and software like 123D Design (available for PC or Mac, iPhone and iPad or through a Web application) makes it accessible for many people to start printing in 3D in their own neighborhood.

More 3D-printing marketplaces and Service Centers are being opened everywhere by entrepreneurs betting on a lucrative market to explode the next years. Shapeways and Maker6 are pioneers in this area in the US, while iMaterialise is well-known in Europe (Belgium).

Some of the big players are already positioning towards a 3D-printing consumer boom as well, such as the recently launched Amazon’s 3D-printing Store or the UPS Store’s in the US.

Better materials

Today, approximately 40 manufacturers sell the 3D-printers most commonly used in businesses, and over 200 startups worldwide are developing and selling consumer-oriented 3D-printers, priced from just a few hundred dollars.

More variety of materials are becoming available for printing – from different types of wax or plastic, ceramics, to metals like steel, brass, bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

Next: A rundown of interesting 3D-printing industries

Some interesting 3D-printing areas

Robotics

Initiated in January 2012, French model maker and sculptor Gael Langevin created “InMoov,” the first life-size humanoid robot you can 3D-print and animate. Replicable on any home 3D-printer with a 12 x 12 x 12 cm area, it is conceived as a development platform for Universities, Laboratories, Hobbyist, but first of all for Makers.

Earlier this year, Intel launched Jimmy, a friendly walking robot that Intel is designing for consumers. Intel describes Jimmy as a research robot, but a less sophisticated version of the adorable droid will go on sale later this year for $1,600.

The caveat is that you will have to 3D-print your Jimmy. The 3D-printing blueprints will be available without charge, but to construct the robot you will also need to purchase a kit from Intel that will contain all the parts of Jimmy that aren’t printable, including motors and an Intel Edison processor. Intel is hoping to bring the price of the robot down to under $1,000 as soon as possible.

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Architecture

Contour Crafting is a layered fabrication technology developed by Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California. Contour Crafting technology has great potential for automating the construction of whole structures as well as sub-components.

Using this process, a single house or a colony of houses, each with possibly a different design, may be automatically constructed in a single run, embedded in each house all the conduits for electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning.

Earlier this year, WinSun Decoration Design Engineering, a Chinese company, harnessed 3D-printing technology to build 10 one-story houses in a day – a cheaper, faster and safer alternative to more traditional construction methods.

The houses were built in Shanghai using four giant 3D-printers, which are each 10 meters wide and 6.6 meters high. They produce a mix of cement and construction waste to construct the walls layer by layer, a process much like how a baker might ice a cake. Such a new type of 3D-printed structure is environment-friendly and cost-effective.

D-Shape in the UK is specializing in Freeform Architectural 3D printing. The company can print any feature that can be enveloped into a cube 6×6 meters side. This can be used for printing single-handed bus stops; park benches/seats; kiosks; colored marble effect pavements; fountains, small swimming pools, furniture, playground elements for playgrounds and kindergarten, and so on…

Lastly, Emerging Objects realizes that the use of 3D printing is not limited to only creating the exterior support of buildings. In fact, it have decided to focus mostly on the interior construction and design aspects of buildings.

The company prints the components that are used in the process, using both renewable and innovative materials, such as a cement polymer as well as a salt polymer that Emerging Objects refers to as Saltygloo.

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“View towards pool and 3D printed cabana” by Emerging Objects

Design

Studio Eric Klarenbeek in Amsterdam is exploring ways of 3D-printing living organisms, such as mycelium, the threadlike network of fungi, in combination with local raw materials to create products such as the Mycelium Chair with a negative carbon footprint.

“We are the first in the world to 3D-print living mycelium, using this infinite natural source of organisms as living glue for binding organic waste,”says Eric Klarenbeek. “Once it’s full-grown and dried, it turns into a structural, stable and renewable material. Combined with 3D-printing it gives us tremendous design freedom.”

Fashion

Many fashion designers are currently experimenting with 3D-printed fashion wear going from hats, headpieces to dresses, shoes and jewelry. Some interesting designs have been created by Iris van Herpen.  Last year, Bradley Rothenberg dreamed up a corset with matching wings for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

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Iris van Herpen

Invisible Light Network creates “Nu” bracelets that are inspired by sound. Nervous System, a design studio in Boston, has released a jewelry collection and accompanying app for desktop 3D-printers. A hinge mechanism in the design means no assembly is required.

London-based designer Silvia Weidenbach creates necklaces using 3-D printing techniques combining traditional artisan and craft skills: “ t is through my understanding and use of both that I discovers new forms of expression,” she says.

The Nike Vapor HyperAgility Cleat, built for the shuttle drill, has taken innovation and athlete agility to a new level. In the quest to help make athletes better, Nike is accelerating the footwear manufacturing process through 3D printing technology.

The Mink 3D-printer lets users choose any colour on the web, or in the real world, and using simple already-existing software, print that colour into a blush, eye shadow, lip-gloss or any other type of makeup. The company is targeting the younger, 13-21 demographic who are less ingrained in their habits with certain brands and retailers.

Automotive

The use of 3D printing in the last James Bond’s movie Skyfall was already a sign of the growing adoption what can be done using the technology with cars in entertainment.

Car manufacturers today are using 3D printing mainly to research and experiment with their concept cars. Designer Erik Melldahl, has teamed up with BMW to introduce the 3D printable Maasaica car with biodegradable materials, and London-based designer Nir Siegel has proposed with Audi the radical idea of a 3D printed car that would assemble itself in front of the buyer.

The concept, entitled ‘genesis,’ utilizes a robotic 3D printer that comes in a monolithic box – ready for assembly.

However, for its next ten 2018 S-Class, Mercedes has announced it is considering introducing 3D parts, not just for the concept models but for final production of interior trim pieces.

Worth noticing also is that workers at a BMW plant in Germany have been given 3D-printed “super-thumbs” to reduce stress on their joints when they are assembling car parts.

In a farfetched future, we may imagine to 3D-print our own car and download the Google self-driving car OS to hit the road J

Entertainment

Earlier this year, Marvel studio partnered with 3DplusMe at the San Diego Comic Conference and showcased its unique printer that scans your facial features and will then print you as a Marvel superhero of your choice.

More of this personalized, branded superhero characters will come to market for sure as it’s a great tool for brands to engage with customers.

Art

There is a lot of mind-blowing 3D-printed art and sculptures exhibited and accessible on the Web. In this article, I wanted to focus on a 3D printing project the Van Gogh Museum has been developing in cooperation with Fujifilm in Belgium.

The product resulting from this cooperation is called Relievo, a premium three-dimensional replica of Van Gogh masterpieces. The originals are recreated in size, colour, brightness and texture to achieve an ultimate fine-art reproduction.

The “Sunflowers” Relievo for example captures the direction and relief of Van Gogh’s brushstrokes, and its 32 shades of yellow. The museum sells the reproductions for $34,000 each.

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Food

One of the most exciting areas in 3D printing is the printing of food. The last year we’ve seen an explosion of 3D “food” printers coming to life like the Foodini or the Candy often funded by the crowds. By changing form, color and taste, 3D Systems developed Sugar Labs, to experiment with new ways how to consume sugar and cakes. Choc Edge does the same with 3D-printed chocolate.

Italy-based pasta maker Barilla plans to equip every restaurant with 3D food printers in a few years. Customers could then get their own designed 3D printed pasta on the plate in a few minutes. Barilla is working with TNO Eindhoven in the Netherlands to make this happen.

However, there is more at stake than the attraction of some gimmicky type of food printers. The introduction of science and technology in the kitchen, also called molecular gastronomy, may revolutionise the way we eat and prepare food in the future.

Cambridge-based startup Dovetailed unveiled its 3D Fruit Printer to print fruit on demand using a molecular-gastronomy technique called specification. By combining individual liquid droplets with different flavors into a desired shape, it allows the creation of interesting bespoke fruits in a matter of seconds.

The tech is aimed at chefs, foodies and anyone interested in making creative dining experiences. No specialist knowledge of cuisine or molecular-gastronomy is required, to rapidly create fresh and organic 3D fruits on demand.

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“3D Fruit Printer” by Dovetailed

Health

One of the obvious uses today in healthcare is the 3D printing of bone and cartilage replacements and medical devices. Much progress is made in this area and many hospitals are now implementing this technology for their day-to-day work.

Earlier this year, neurosurgeons successfully implanted a 3D-printed skull in the University Medical Centre in Utrecht.

Lawrence Bonassar, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and colleagues collaborated with Weill Cornell Medical College physicians to create an artificial ear using 3-D printing and injectable molds. Scientists at Princeton University used off-the-shelf printing tools to create a functional ‘bionic’ ear that can “hear” radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capability.

Organovo claims that it will have a 3D printed liver sometime this year. Researchers are already printing out dozens of different biological cells. Once a method of printing vascular networks within these organs can be perfected, the amount of innovation within the field will be explosive. The field of medicine will look entirely different by the end of this decade.

Physicians and scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine were the first in the world to engineer laboratory-grown organs that were successfully implanted into humans. Today, this interdisciplinary team is working to engineer more than 30 different replacement tissues and organs and to develop healing cell therapies-all with the goal to cure, rather than merely treat, disease.

Optimistically, we’re four years away before this becomes a common practice to save human lives.

What about the future of 3D printing?

According a recent report from Gartner, 3D printing is evolving rapidly, although many technologies are still five to ten years away from mainstream adoption. Consumer adoption will be outpaced by business and medical applications that have more compelling use cases in the short term.

Meanwhile, we will see better and more diverse materials coming to market as well as better printers with increased printing speed at reduced cost. 3D printing will make its way to many more classrooms in education as it’s the ultimate maker tool to create objects and prototypes. And we will probably see Apple, Google or Amazon coming up with an own 3D-printers as soon as the consumer market is ready to explode.

And then there is 4D printing: check out this video from Skylar Tibbits @ TED and the emergence of 4D printing. This emerging technology will allow us to print objects that then reshape themselves or self-assemble over time.

The future is near.

Check out my original presentation at 3D Printshow earlier this month below:

Read next: 15 of the best 3D-printed items from 2013

Go here to see the original: How 3D printing will impact our future: A rundown of companies to keep your eyes on

Pour Your Pellets Into The Sculptify David For Some 3D Printing

Most home 3D printing systems use a few basic tools to build objects. First you have a build plate and an extruder. A motor pulls plastic filament through a heated nozzle and squeezes it out, slowly but surely creating layer after layer until you have a 3D-printed Pokemon knock-off. But specialized filament is comparatively expensive, and the raw resource from which it’s made, plastic pellets, isn’t. That’s where the
Sculptify David
comes in.

Created by Columbus, Ohio, natives Todd Linthicum and Slade Simpson, this 3D printer reduces the cost of 3D printing by allowing users to use cheap pellets instead of expensive custom filament. This means you could feasibly use all sorts of materials, from nylon to plastic to wood-based pellets, to print.

“We have been using 3D printers for some time now, and have realized how powerful the technology is/can be. But both the printers and materials themselves have insanely inflated prices – six figures for some printers, and hundreds of dollars for a couple kilograms of material,” said Simpson. “Our main philosophy at Sculptify is that for 3D printing to become a truly useful and viable technology, material options have to expand, and material costs have to decrease – not every plastic product in your life is made out of PLA, especially at $48/.9kg.”
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The team will launch the project on August 20 but they’re planning on selling early bird units for $2,745, a pretty penny but still within the range of standard 3D printers. They’ve created a pre-sale page where users can sign up to be notified when the product is for sale.

Why pellets? Simpson explains:

Pellets offer many distinct advantages, with more material options, higher material quality, and reduced material cost, being the most primary. Basically every plastic product in the world starts out in pellet form, so they are widely available in hundreds of different grades, materials, and colors. Also,since David eliminates the need for spools of filament, materials no longer need to be optimized for a spool – just poured into our system.

You could feasibly use any color plastic in the machine and even use multiple kinds of plastic. The print bed is heated so you can print ABS and other chemical plastics, as well as starch-based PLA and other composites. Does this make it better than any other 3D printer on the market? Potentially, if it means you can print more materials more easily.

The founders were Mechanical Engineering majors who worked at major automotive companies in the past. They’ve been working on David for most of the year and are ready to start mass producing in Ohio.

“We want to start a business, not make quick money off of a project, and we are dedicated to making that happen. We plan to offer sales of production units after our Kickstarter units have shipped,” said Simpson.

View post: Pour Your Pellets Into The Sculptify David For Some 3D Printing

MatterFab Launches To Make Metal 3D Printing Affordable

When most people think of 3D printing, they usually think of the plastic trinkets that come out of Makerbot machines. But increasingly, there’s interest in being able to 3D print items out of metal, which allows for more heavy-duty industrial applications of the technology.

Metal 3D printers exist now, but they can be expensify to purchase. A new startup called MatterFab hopes to reduce the cost associated with metal 3D printing, with a machine that houses a high-powered laser to basically weld metal together.

Unlike most plastic 3D printing machines, which work by extruding small amounts of plastic filament onto an object, the MatterFab machine puts down a thin layer of metal powder onto a build plate and then uses its laser to melt the powder onto the layer beneath it. By doing so, the machine can very precisely print various metal objects.

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MatterFab CEO Matt Burris got his start after growing up around his father’s CNC machine shop in Indianapolis. That shop specifically built machine parts for the aerospace industry, but about three years ago, GE started to 3D print some of the parts that the shop used to make.

That led Burris to become interested in creating his own metal 3D printing machine, which he’s been working on for the past two years along with co-founder Dave Warren. The team has been working out of the office of hardware incubator and seed-stage investor firm Lemnos Labs, which helped to get the startup up and running.

Due to the rapidly decreasing cost of sensors and computational power, the MatterFab machine was built to offer up metal 3D printing at an order of magnitude lower than other products that are available to manufacturers today. With its prototype done, the company is looking to start building and shipping printers to partners beginning early next year.

Check out the video above to see how it works.

Read the original post: MatterFab Launches To Make Metal 3D Printing Affordable

MIT Students Create An Ice Cream Printer

You scream, I scream, we all transform an off-the-shelf Cuisinart soft-serve maker to extrude super-cooled and 3D-printed shells of ice cream! Three students at MIT, Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker, and David Donghyun Kim, have created a homemade ice cream printer that extrudes soft serve and immediately freezes it so that it can be layered on a cooled plate.

The system is a proof-of-concept right now but they were able to print some clever shapes out of the sweet, sweet cream. Writes Bunker:

We were inspired to design this printer because we wanted to make something fun with this up and coming technology in a way that we could grab the attention of kids. We felt that it was just as important to come up with a new technology as it was to interest the younger generation in pursuing science and technology so we can continue pushing the limits of what is possible.

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The team worked on the project their spring semester at MIT and got it working to print a star. They have no plans to commercialize it yet but it seems like a clever and very useful hack.

“We ate a lot of ice cream during the making the machine especially during the couple all-nighters when ice cream became our midnight snack and breakfast, it was a great project and we had a lot of fun working on it,” she said.

The team built the printer as part of Professor John Hart’s class in additive manufacturing. They used a Solidoodle printer to control the plate and the stream and froze the ice-cream as it came out with liquid nitrogen. As you can imagine, it melted quite often, resulting in a pool of sweet, edible sadness. As a man who can eat three gallons of ice cream in a sitting, I could imagine this thing just 3D printing all over my head.

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Continued here: MIT Students Create An Ice Cream Printer

Squink Lets You Print A Circuit Board For The Price Of A Cup Of Coffee

3D printing has changed the way engineers test products, allowing them to cut down on time and costs. But what about 3D printing the components that go into most of these products?

Botfactory computer engineer Carlos Ospina said that most of the people he encountered didn’t believe it was possible. But he’s proven them wrong with Squink, a portable circuit board factory that allows you to test your project in minutes in the comfort of your home — costing around $2 to print.

Launched on Kickstarter last week, Squink prints conductive ink on specific materials such as photo paper or glass. In the span of about three days, Ospina and his team have raised about $24,000 on Kickstarter.

The circuit board is designed through a web-based portal usable only with Squink plugged in. The printer applies conductive glue dots onto the ink and then picks up components from a tray, aligns them and places them on the glue dots.

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Botfactory and Squink were created by a group of engineers who met at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. Ospina said Squink can get anyone interested in circuit building because the portal requires no prior knowledge about circuitry and is simple to use.

You can also find a circuit board you’re interested in building online and input that into the Squink portal.

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They don’t want Squink to replace the current process of sending projects to manufacturers to build but want it to be a tool for people to test out their ideas immediately, without having to create a delay in the creative process.

“We really want to be a stepping stone — try it out really quickly and once you’re ready, then you crank out about 100 boards from a manufacturer,” said Nicholas Vansnick, the team’s robotics engineer.

They are planning to sell the printer with a cartridge of conductive ink, cylinders of the conductive glue and a standard set of components. A cartridge of conductive ink can print about 100 boards, while one cylinder of the glue is for a single use.

If a user wants to buy more or different components, Ospina said they’re looking into ways to let the user buy them through their website.

The printer is still a prototype and the design is incomplete; as the Kickstarter dials down, they’re continuing to work on ways to make it look sleeker and be more portable and precise.

IMAGE BY Julian Chokkattu (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)

See the rest here: Squink Lets You Print A Circuit Board For The Price Of A Cup Of Coffee

Peekster, A Shazam For Print Media, Launches In The U.S. At Disrupt NY

It may surprise you but print media isn’t dead yet. Hell — some people even like reading ink off of pulped tree. And that curious fact is something U.K. startup Peekster is intending to cash in on — with an app (yes, it’s still an app) that links offline reading habits with online socializing and sharing habits to please old school readers and publishers alike.

We’ve covered this startup before, as a graduate of last year’s Wayra UK accelerator intake. But today Peekster is strutting its stuff on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY in our battlefield competition, and has just announced it’s launching its app in the U.S. today.

Peekster’s U.S. launch publications are the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, which join the six existing U.K. publications (The Times, Independent, Metro, The Guardian, the London Evening Standard and City AM) already supported by the app.

Users of Peekster who like to read these learned journals in dead tree form will be able to whip out their smartphone and digitally ‘clip’ an article from the paper edition they’re reading by scanning a few words from the headline or first paragraph.

When I say ‘clip’ — which Peekster calls tagging — I mean the app will locate the digital version of the article a user is reading so they can share it online with their social networks, or save it for later reading (Peekster integrates with read-it-later services such as Pocket and Instapaper for that). In other words, the app enables a newspaper reader to connect their offline reading with their online identity and networks.

The iOS app uses optical character recognition to figure out what the iPhone’s camera is pointing at and point the user to the correct online article. Where a publication’s content is not currently being linked to within the app, Peekster will suggested related similar articles based on the words the user scanned — so you can use it as a related content discovery engine too, if you wish.

On the discoverability front, the app also curates a real-time list of popular tags — based on what the community of Peekster users is scanning. So its pitch to publishers is that it can also help bring in new readers, as well as linking their offline readers to their online content.

To be clear, Peekster says it is not maintaining a database of publishers’ content itself (to avoid any copyright issues). It’s either looking at a publication’s RSS feed to locate the content a user is after, or doing a web search, says co-founder Tine Hamler. Although he adds that it does do some headline and URL indexing to speed up internal searches.

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Since there’s no database to build out, the only real reason for Peekster limiting the number of publications whose content is accessible within its app is on business model grounds. Ultimately it’s hoping to be able to persuade a sub-set of publishers to pay for the privilege of having their content in front of Peekster’s audience.

But to do that, it needs a sizeable enough audience to encourage publishers’ to pay — so this chicken/egg is not there yet.

Peekster needs some content to get readers interested of course — hence it’s starting by offering a limited selection of mainstream publishers’ content without them having to pay it, in the hopes that the ability to locate their content will help it amass enough users to get other publishers interested in paying to get content accessible within the app. (This is one of the reasons it’s focused on adding free newspapers in the U.K., says Hamler, owing to the potential volume of readers that brings in.)

Peekster is not currently breaking out app user numbers — but the app only launched last November so that’s not too surprising. Hamler says its active weekly user percentage is around 15% and that’s also something it will need to ramp up if it’s to make itself attractive enough to get publishers to pay. The startup itself was founded in May 2013, on selection by Wayra U.K.

That’s its only funding to date too. Now, post-Wayra, Hamler says it’s looking to raise a half a million dollar seed round and is currently meeting with investors — with the hopes of being able to close the round in about four months.

In the future publishers will need to advertise their content — not just their brand, but also the content; the articles themselves

While you might think it’s a retrograde choice for a startup to build a digital business atop very-long-in-the-tooth media format (print), Hamler argues there’s life left in dead tree media — and, over the longer term, an opportunity to provide publishers with technology to help them promote and sell individual articles in a mostly digital future.

“We saw a lot of people reading newspapers on Tubes, on public transport… and we did some market research and found out that people still rather prefer print over digital when commuting to work,” he says, explaining the genesis of the idea for Peekster. “The over 35s are still big print consumers so we checked the market and 80% of all the publishing industry is still on print, and only 20% is on digital subscription.

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“Also print brings in most of the revenue for publishers, and so we thought why not? Why not try and make print more interesting — why not include popular services from the Internet, like sharing stuff, like saving stuff.”

But the grand vision of Peekster goes beyond the current generation of print media — so ultimately isn’t tethered to print publications. The app’s makers envisage a future where big name publishers require new ways to flag up and distribute their content in an increasingly crowded marketplace of digital content.

“Print is declining but at the moment it’s still a pretty huge market,” says Hamler. “But in the future we believe that we will witness a big change in content distribution because all the content will be online and it will be hard to stand out and be found… We want to play a part in this. Our idea is that in the future publishers will need to advertise their content — not just their brand, but also the content; the articles themselves.”

Hamler points to billboard advertising campaigns that have been run by the Economist which present different angles of a story and encourage viewers to text certain keywords to get sent a copy of the publication as an example of the kind of advertising that large publishers are increasingly going to have to turn to, to drive interest in their content.

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“I think print will go down that road — that content will be advertised on billboards and so on. It will be great for Peekster because you’ll be able to just scan the billboard and basically buy that one article with an in-app purchase,” he adds.

In the mean time,  while it waits to enable a future where readers pay per article (at least from publications which can afford to advertise their wares on billboards), Peekster has several revenue strands in mind — including, hopefully in the near term, being able to persuade smaller publishers to pay for having their content included in its app.

It is also already taking revenue from other sources. Its basic app is freemium but certain advanced functions (such as exporting content to other services, and an offline mode feature) require an in-app purchase to unlock them. It’s also taking revenue from pushing promoted content within its app, collecting a fee per click on that.

Another possible revenue stream for the business is providing ‘Google analytics’ type services to print publishers – about the kind of articles people are looking at in paper newspapers and magazines.

Hamler says it may also look at licensing its technology (via an API) to publishers so they could add its ‘scan and tag’ function within their own apps — but he says those publishers it has talked to so far seem to prefer the concept of a standalone, independent service, which offers the chance of bringing in new readers, not just serving an existing readership.

Q&A

Q: Why did you go to the newspaper market first as opposed to billboards?
A: We see Peekster and printed media as a great driver to introduce Peekster to the audience because we can also count on publishers’ support as a way to promote their content

Q: Do you see print publications supporting it? It seems to me going to consumers and changing behaviour is a lot harder than going to the publishers and saying use this as a white label solution…
A: We are getting offers from publishers to white label.

Q: One aspect [of your pitch] is it’s in places where people don’t use their device, but you’re also expecting people to use their device so there’s a little bit of disconnect there –- so where are people doing the sharing? And also it seems like you really need the long tail of content? So how do you coach the user to use it?
A: Peekster is meant for print readers. So they consume content from print. Peekster is here just only for that second that the reader wants to share something to social media.

If we don’t find the right article for you we always suggest three similar stories so you can pick other articles from other publishers.

Q: Do you support reading in the app, like Pocket?
A: We link you directly to the website, but we offer in the future the option to remove all the clutter around the website, and then save to Evernote or Pocket or things like that.

Q: Do you see people coming back? Is there a way to bring users in more often than just grabbing a headline to share it?
A: Peekster is also widely used for content discovery – like you saw in the demo we provide this popular list, so you don’t need your print newspaper to discover new content.

Q: You’re doing OCR, so why couldn’t you just do a Google search to find the article that way?
A: We built a custom search that includes only publishers.

Q: What type of user data do you have to show that customers are sticking with it? To me it seems like you’re solving a problem that may not be a problem…
A: People are reading print because they like print. We have from 25% of our users are weekly active users.

Q: How often are they sharing content?
A: They are sharing on a weekly basis. The engagement rate is around 15%

See original here: Peekster, A Shazam For Print Media, Launches In The U.S. At Disrupt NY