We were assembled in sardine-quality packed formation in 3D Systems’ massive booth at CES2014, awaiting some kind of event involving mega-recording star Will.I.Am. Some suspected the artist would play us some tunes, although it seemed quite unlikely as the only musical equipment in the vicinity was 3D Systems’ usual 3D printed band instruments, which are perhaps somewhat less capable than Will.I.Am’s normal gear.
Instead 3D Systems’ CEO Avi Reichental announced the star is now, officially, 3D Systems’ Chief Creative Officer.
Yes, this is true.
Apparently Reichental and Will.I.Am met due to a mutual interest in children’s education, which they intend to work on together within the new arrangement. Among his duties will be to assist the development of unusual designs, such as this incredible 3D printed metal piece worn during the announcement.
Is this appointment simply another less-than-meaningful celebrity endorsement? Will.I.Am vigorously disagreed, saying that he fully intends to leverage the appointment for the betterment of all. Specifically, the announcement says he will:
Inspire, shape and drive all of 3DS’ initiatives to mainstream the use of 3D printing through major collaborations with creative brand partners, innovative global campaigns and educational grand challenges designed to grow the popularity of 3D printing.
While watching the announcement, we couldn’t help contrasting the two major players in 3D printing: 3D Systems and Stratasys. Stratasys has, with their acquisition of MakerBot, a media star with one Bre Pettis. His dynamic presence has massively assisted the rise of MakerBot, but 3D Systems hasn’t had a similar media magnet.