3D Seed Printing: Idea Generation and Evaluation

The first brainstorming technique I used was meditation. I was not satisfied with my first two 3D printing ideas, so I spent some time laying quietly and letting my mind wander. I tried to think about common problems around me physically and personally, and I let myself be inspired by books I had recently read (the sci-fi novel 2312) and new technology I had recently heard about (Smart Herb Garden). I felt that this technique was very helpful to me, because I was able to generate a lot of interesting and new ideas using it. It seems less reliable than other techniques I tried because inspiration may or may not strike you as you are meditating.

1. Printing grass, printing grass seeds

2. Take up dead grass, weeds, garbage to create new things like the printed seeds or printed soil/ nutrients

3. Printing out seedlings, saplings

4. Print living tree skeleton, that once it’s done being printed… apply water and sun and it starts growing!

5. App interaction… syncs with smart phone

6. Walks around on spider legs, uses its legs as probes and sensors

7. Can get small enough to be portable… its legs wrap around your arm and you can wear it like a bracelet

8. Maybe there are big ones that are really powerful, they can terraform the Earth

9. Assistive technology… What if you can’t lift a bunch of heavy soil bags or you can’t bend over to dig in the dirt so well? What if it’s just too hot to safely spend hours outside working in the garden?

10. Collecting, saving, using dew and rainwater or condensation from A/C window unit

The second brainstorming technique I used was Rolestorming. Marie and I thought about user groups like individuals, local governments, big businesses, and users who would use the technology for good/ would abuse it. We also thought about the physical scale of the technology and how size would change who could use it and the kinds of things that could be done with it. I really liked this technique because, when putting yourself in the role of different users of your technology, it felt easy think creatively and come up with ideas that are bigger or more wild than I might have otherwise come up with.

11. If you say, I want tomatoes, and it says… your soil sucks for that, but you could grow lettuce

12. Personal gardner / robot / 3D seed printer

13. Can dispose of the weeds and turn into compost/mulch for the yard

14. Could set it loose on your neighbors yard with either good or evil intention: good: mow the whole block – bought by the city, evil – plant prickly grass

15. City pays for it to beautify

16. An alternative to 1-800-flowers, instead of sending your loved ones dead flowers… send your printer to their garden and beautify

17. For plants that take forever to grow – just print it as whatever part of the life cycle you want

18. Don’t like to weed but like to prune? sure. adjust the settings….

19. Customize the settings and having it tell you things about your garden/ yard based on the sensor readings it takes

20. Depending on the area you live in, it can be smart enough to know that it can’t turn a deset into an oasis but it can make your yard in Baltimore a little better

21. Plant forests, then cut them down for lumber, then plant them again

22. Enrich the soil by constant monitoring and attending, so that plants grow much faster

23. Print nutrients… need more nitrogen?

24. It knows how to prevent/ cure plant diseases like blight

25. It should also eat bugs and slugs and such

26. It doesn’t use pesticides… it needs to live in harmony with nature, even though it’s a robot/ 3D printer

The third brainstorming technique I used was Mind Mapping. I thought this technique was most helpful for getting into the details of the ideas I had generated so far. I found myself writing down very specific ideas and then going into more detail on each main idea. It felt like a very appropriate third step in the brainstorming process, because this technique led me to focus on specific ideas and think about them more deeply.

27. Print seeds by collecting them from the environment around gardener robot, saving, “printing” at the right time

28. Collect parts of plant to combine when seed needs to be printed

29. Has ability to preserve seeds or seed parts for long periods of time

30. Saves seeds for appropriate seaons, user needs

31. Promotes diversity of local plant life because there is no need to buy seeds from other sources

32. Can trade seeds with other gardener robot users to obtain plants you are not able to get from your own yard

33. Gamify gardening… gotta catch all of the local seeds!

34. Let your printer scout around public green areas for additional printing materials, without letting it take too much

35. Release seeds to the wind/ to insects if you don’t need them

36. Let seeds mature inside printer, then print seedlings

37. Print organic scaffolding for plants



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