Learner, maker, innovator & 3D technology enthusiast, Kadine James is Hobs studio’s 3D Tech Lead. Combining 6+ years’ experience in 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. she’s driven by big ideas, a global mindset & empowering the use 3D printing in art and architecture. She is also collaborating with international galleries, leading contemporary artists / architects, and sets out to create a platform for 3D printing VR/AR/MR learning opportunities for young people to get involved with 3DTech in central London, at Hobs studios hub and incubator for thought leadership in the wider 3D printing makers VR/AR/MR tech industry. Kadine is a STEM ambassador and technology correspondent with Planning TV. A Maker and VR producer and curator, Kadine produced the largest 3D printed Master Plan Project’s in the UK, she also curates 3D printing and VR projects the for the public realm along with working with leading music artist’s. She specializes in immersive experiences for broad and diverse audiences and leads the 3D Academy which delivers career pathways in 3D printing VR/AR/MR at Hobs studios with The Mayor of London and London Legacy. In addition to her busy schedule, she is now working directly with Women in 3D Printing as she is the local London ambassador for our very first London Women in 3D Printing meetup, happening May 1st!

Kadine, could you let us know about your background and what brought you into 3D printing in the first place?

My background is in art and design, I have always been interested in tech and the use of digital tools and how the technologies of our time are being used across many disciplines when the opportunity came about to work at the biggest 3D printing company in the UK I jumped at it.

I love good design along with the making and fabrication process. Additive Fabrication is one of those rare technologies that although 20 years old is just coming into its own. In the beginning, the models were fragile and brittle and could only be used for form but now with improved plastics, binders, and even metals, you can create a very robust end-use part. And when you begin to consider the wide array of other materials that can ultimately be used I believe the potential is endless.

What was your very first experience with 3D Printing?

I have been very fortunate to work on some incredibly exciting projects throughout my career in disruptive technology one of the first was with the Factum Foundation and team at the The Royal Academy where I worked with Factum Arte, who developed the Veronica Scanner which uses photogrammetry to record highly objective portraits. The Veronica Scanner was installed in two locations as the centerpiece of an interactive exhibition exploring 3D portraiture.

Around 1,000 people were scanned, and nearly 10,000 visited, The Veronica Scanner: Live 3D Portraiture; was the result of a collaboration between Hobs studios, Factum Foundation, The Rothschild Foundation and the Royal Academy of Arts. It was hosted at the RA and at Waddesdon Manor and was one of the most well-attended exhibitions ever recorded at the Coach House Gallery at Waddesdon Manor. Hobs studio’s 3D printed the busts from the digital data captured by the Veronica Scanner at 1;21 on our large format SLA 800 printer, the biggest SLA in London. This project was groundbreaking in the sense that it combined various innovative technologies related to image making, including 3D printing, virtual reality, and advanced 3D scanning.  This collaboration demonstrated the latest scientific innovations to significantly push the boundaries of traditional artistic media.

However, the highlight has to be our work on one of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe working with Peabody on Thamesmead New Town. We have taken Thamesmead Master Plan into Virtual Reality. Peabody are embracing new technologies such as Virtual Reality, to win the confidence of communities before a single brick has been laid. By visualizing proposed new housing from the neighbor or homebuyers perspective, communities across Thamesmead are able to see how a development can visually contribute to the area from an early stage, even before planning permission has been granted.

Could you explain furthermore what Hobs Studio is and the services that you are providing?

Hobs Studio is unique in providing a range of high-quality 3D solutions for architecture, construction, engineering and property development along with working with world-leading contemporary artists and creatives at our digital foundry and maker’s lab.

Our specialists use the latest technologies in 3D printing, 3D Laser Scanning and 3D Visualisations VR/AR/MR and deep tech to support our clients in their design process.

Hobs Studio is also the UK’s largest 3D printing bureau, we have recently chosen Here East as our new London headquarters which is exciting as Here East is already home to PlexalLoughborough University London, and BT Sport. Along with Sports Interactive and Ladbrokes Coral who are also relocating to Here East campus. Ford Motors is set to open its European Smart Mobility Office and luxury fashion retailer MATCHESFASHION.COM has lined up new photography and filming studios.

We moved to Here East as we wanted to be part of East London’s thriving creative scene and Here East was the natural choice for our new headquarters as we looked to expand in the years ahead.  In the spirit of collaboration, we are looking forward to our affiliation with the Digital Engineering and Test Centre (DETC) and we hope to collaborate further with other tenants at Here East like Loughborough University and UCL

Our work with the academy seeks to reinforce core STEAM concepts taught by female engineers, technologists, and scientists, we want to ensure that our students are left with powerful examples of their possible future careers in technology, we are also want to support the next generation of female digital leaders here in the UK, along with helping female entrepreneurs get the support they deserve and we believe that true innovation comes from diversity, and London’s tech ecosystem needs a lot more of that.

Can you tell us more about your role at Hobs Studio?

I am Hobs studios 3D Tech Lead and I specialise in 3D printing, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. I’m currently collaborating with international galleries, leading contemporary artists / architects.  I am also a VR producer and curator, I co- produced one of the first VR Master Plan Project’s in the UK, I also curate VR for the public realm along with working with leading VR music artist’s where I am curating immersive experiences for broad and diverse audiences.

I am also leading our 3D Academy which delivers career pathways into 3D printing VR/AR/MR with The Mayor of London and London Legacy. The Hobs 3D Academy is a collaboration with London Legacy and ADA, our programs will deliver fast track courses on 3D printing processes along with 3D modelling programs and technical training, where we will offer work placement opportunities in particular for girls, BAME, LGBT and those on lower incomes and NEET (not in employment or education)

I am also an active member of VRDI Virtual Reality Diversity Initiative, Digital Leaders UK and The Mayor of London’s Tech Ambassador Group, Tech London Advocates, and Women in Tech program.

Have you run into any challenges from being a woman in 3D Printing?

There are no self-derived challenges to being a female leader, my view is that women truly can do anything that they set their minds too in this world – and the list of our physical and intellectual capabilities is as long, if not longer than men. That being said, society is still adjusting itself to the dynamism, ambition and creativity of women, and women must cultivate personal resilience to adversity in the face of the sexism and inequality, however subtle or overt, we still experience.

I tend to focus on my own goals, and hope that my projects and achievements stand for themselves as testament to my abilities. Surrounding yourself with a supportive and diverse team, and staying close to other women in business and technology, is an important force of inspiration for me.

What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?

3D printing has continued to make an impact in many different areas. Whether it’s helping save lives in the medical field, driving innovation in the automotive industry, or bringing opportunities to new heights in the world of aerospace technologies, 3D printing news is making headlines for its endless possibilities.  

3D printed prototypes have allowed designers and engineers to turn their ideas into reality with parts they can physically hold and manipulate. This technology has spurred innovation across multiple industries and changed the way people approach challenges. From a 3D printed splint that clears a baby’s airway to an aerospace part created in half the time, the benefits of rapid prototyping are numerous.

3D advances are already achieving remarkable things, for example, surgeons in the UK were able to use 3D printed parts to reconstruct the face of a motorcyclist who had been seriously injured in a road accident and last year.

What do you consider game-changing technologies in additive manufacturing?

I feel that we are on the brink of a sea change in 3D printing, and much closer to turning the vision of making the digital physical than ever before.

The tech has come on leaps and bounds; so much so that it’s now being used creatively to make everything from jewellery to fashion to the aerospace sphere in making jet engine parts. Perhaps most extraordinary, however, is how it’s starting to be used medically to create dentures, bones and even human organs and body parts using ground-breaking 3D bio-printing techniques.

Bio-printing is a revolutionary process where layers of living cells are printed or deposited on a gel surface layer by layer and used to form three-dimensional structures such as limbs, organs and vascular systems. The 3D living ink or “Flink” is still in its infancy,

Step forwards 50 or so years and imagine a time when experts possess the ability to bio-print a whole human being. This could potentially be a revolutionary answer to paralysis and limb replacement. In the future, there may be no need for a donor register or anti-rejection drugs as our limbs could be grown from our own stem cells in a lab. Imagine the sci-fi-like possibilities that look set to become fact.

In addition, Robotics, IoT and wearable devices are also providing amazing opportunities to enable our natural or injured bodies to accomplish new things – for example supporting the Paralympics, or doctors in performing remote collaborative surgeries.

The World Health Organisation has recently estimated that 30 million people in low-income countries need prosthetic limbs. There is hope that 3D scanning and printing may be able to help with this.

I am also excited to see how things progress with ARUP, which recently showed it can 3D-print concrete walls for a house.

What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you?

I’m particularly drawn to technologies that are very interdisciplinary. With 3D printing, we often work in teams with people from many different backgrounds and disciplines like architects and artists. I am also drawn to technologies that are far reaching and that can have a wide impact – with 3D printing, the applications are literally endless. Improving a process or modeling technique may help countless industries and people.

What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? And how would you like to see it evolve?

The performance of additive manufacturing machinery is improving, the range of materials is expanding, and prices (for both printers and materials) are declining rapidly— bringing 3D printing to a point where it could see rapid adoption by consumers and for more manufacturing uses. With 3D printing, an idea can go directly from a 3D design file to a finished part or product, potentially skipping many traditional manufacturing steps. Importantly, 3D printing enables on-demand production, which has interesting implications for supply chains and for stocking spare parts—a major cost for manufacturers. 3D printing can also reduce the amount of material wasted in manufacturing and create objects that are difficult or impossible to produce with traditional techniques. Scientists have even “bio-printed” organs, using an inkjet printing technique to layer human stem cells along with supporting scaffolding. 3-D printing is moving in several directions at this time and all indications are that it will continue to expand in many areas in the future. Some of the most promising areas include medical applications, custom parts replacement, and customized consumer products. As materials improve and costs go down, other applications we can barely imagine today will become possible.

Perhaps the greatest area of potential growth for 3-D printing is in the medical field. As mentioned above, researchers are just starting to experiment with the idea of creating artificial bones with 3-D printers, but the process could potentially be used for so much more. Some companies are investigating the possibility of printing organic materials; these materials could be used in a much wider array of surgeries and potentially replace a much larger selection of defective human parts. Expect expansion of training techniques based on 3-D printed models of complex human systems, a greater effort to more explicitly explain surgeries or the workings of the human body to patients as detailed replicas of body parts to become more common, and more precise surgical and diagnostic equipment based on designs that can be printed but not manufactured using traditional means.

In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing the way we receive information, how we process it, how we work and what jobs we will do. It is happening at an unprecedented pace. Because of this, we simply cannot afford to have any less than our whole population engaged and contributing.

The answers are out there: give girls role models, teach them the skills they will need, encourage them, and show them that tech careers will help change the world for the better. By 2030, women can and will be critical to leveraging this revolution to benefit our global society.

I want to use my platform as a woman working in tech to encourage and mentor girls into careers in technology. Female role models like Clare Cockerton at Plexal City and the Plexiglass program along with our very 3D Academy with London Legacy will help: Both of these fantastic programmes will encourage young women to pursue careers in STEAM technology fields. We are focused on equipping girls with the digital skills they will need navigate the workplace of the future. These are just a few examples of the growing numbers of innovative and effective solutions that seek to bring about meaningful change.

Thank you for reading and for sharing! 

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