This year, innovative technologies like 3D printing are playing a role in creating a unique and interactive holiday experience at the White House.
The halls of the White House are decked out with festive holiday décor and the White House Christmas tree stands tall in the Blue Room.
In October, the White House announced the 3D Printed Ornament Challenge in partnership with the Smithsonian. Makers, innovators and students around the country, from New Hampshire and Texas to California and Michigan, submitted more than 300 creative, whimsical and beautiful winter-inspired designs. Twenty innovative designs were chosen as finalists and five of these designs were selected for display in the White House.
The 3D Printed Ornament Challenge builds on the White House’s interest in spurring innovation and creativity through making. In July, at the first-ever White House Maker Faire, President Obama explained that “Today’s D.I.Y. is tomorrow’s Made in America.” To support the future of American innovation, the Administration is also working to create more opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. This will allow makers to turn their creativity into products while continuing to develop advanced manufacturing capabilities domestically.
The 3D printing allows individuals to quickly, easily and inexpensively prototype their ideas, solve pressing problems, and positively impact the health, biomedical, food, fashion, and other industries. And federal agencies are also harnessing the power of 3D technology:
- The Smithsonian is using 3D to digitize iconic objects in its collection and created the bust of President Obama based on a 3D scan of the President, which is currently on display in the Commons gallery of the Smithsonian Castle through December 31, 2014.
- The National Institutes of Health launched the 3D Print Exchange, where individuals can freely upload or download scientific 3D printable models for research and education.
- NASA recently announced it used Zero-G, a 3D printer designed to be used in a zero gravity environment to 3D print an object in space for the first time.
The following ornament designs were 3D printed and are currently on display in the White House. These designs will be featured in the Smithsonian’s state-of-the-art 3D data platform, and will join the small collection of White House ornaments in the Political History division of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
This intricately designed ornament of interlocking snowflakes evokes the beauty that comes with frosty winters.
“Library of Congress”
The design for Vicky’s entry was inspired by one of her family’s favorite destinations in Washington, D.C. — the Reading Room in the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building.
“Star of Bliss”
Much like the way this ornament was created, through the mirroring and patterning of a simple line, the Star of Bliss signifies how a small act of kindness can transform and spread to create a wonderful, positive outcome.
“Presidents of Christmas Past and Present”
The 44 stars featured around the ornament pay homage to the 44 presidents which have led this great nation.
“Winter Wonderland of Innovation”
Surrounding the White House in this ornament, are simple aspects of the holidays including a fully decorated tree, an imaginary sleigh that can take the First Family on evening strolls, a snowman and a sled.
You can also check out the ornaments being printed in this video.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCGdrI0gT4E&w=600]This post was originally published on the White House blog by Stephanie Santoso and Ryan Xue, from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).