The Earth has undergone innumerable changes over its long lifetime, with continents melding and breaking apart, species appearing and disappearing, climate changing and then changing again. Our planet’s history is a fascinating one, but the changes, for the most part, excepting mass extinctions, natural disasters and rapid climate change, have been so gradual that people don’t get to see them. It would be amazing to be able to witness the Earth’s transformations in some way, and that’s the purpose of EARTH, a 3D printed globe with an accompanying augmented reality application that allows users to learn about and experience the planet’s history.

EARTH was created by AstroReality, the maker of LUNAR, a 3D printed model of the moon that also came with an augmented reality app. It is currently raising money on Kickstarter, and at this time has already raised more than twice its funding goal of $30,000. It’s an idea that people seem to love, and no wonder – EARTH gives you more than any book about the planet’s history can do. Users simply point their smartphones at the 3D printed globe and can watch meteors from centuries ago, ancient weather patterns, migration patterns and more.

A timeline function allows the user scroll through to see changes to the planet throughout history, and there’s also an artificial intelligence component that answers questions. The AI assistant is called Gaea, so, for example, the user would say “Hey Gaea, what was the population of gray wolves in 1972?” or “What is the average summer temperature in Chile?” for quick facts. Topics on the app are divided into several categories: animals, plants, geology, environmental, humanities and meteorology.

“We wanted to emphasise the concept of change,” said Joanne Dai, Co-Founder of AstroReality. “Earth can show you very basic information, similar to what you could find on Google Earth, but the aspect of change throughout Earth’s history – of migration patterns, cloud formations, carbon dioxide levels and more – is the key difference with Earth.”

EARTH can be used by children and adults, experts and novices, and can be tailored to display basic or complex information.

“We made Earth for everyone, from tech-lovers to geology enthusiasts to educators,” said Dai. “The model is also perfect for use in classrooms, libraries and research labs. We’re passionate about educating through art, which is why we’ve used 3D-printing and hand-painting – there’s so much to learn about our planet and we wanted to share that in the most beautiful, fun and advanced way possible.”

EARTH is on Kickstarter until July 7th, with shipment estimated to begin in November of this year. Backers can receive a model for a special Kickstarter price of $199, and AstroReality is also offering special models only through Kickstarter, such as Winter Earth, a model painted to look like Earth in winter, Heat Wave Earth, which shows what a potential planet made warm and wet by global warming would look like, and Apocalypse Earth, a bleaker model swept clean of vegetation. Each model is hand-painted. Visit EARTH on Kickstarter to learn more and pledge to receive your own model.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Source: Design Week/Images: AstroReality]

 

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