Today in APIs: Shapeways API Used to Print 3D Key Chains

Print 3D for Me uses the Shapeways API to start keychain photo business. Google backs away from the Pointer Events API, hurting developers. Plus bank hackathon offers $7,500 prize, and Centscere features donations while posting on Facebook.

Print 3D for Me Uses Shapeways API to Launch Key Chain Business

Here's an example of an API that made it possible not only to integrate the cutting edge technology of 3D printing, but to launch a business using it as well. The API belongs to Shapeways, a company that runs 3D printers. Programmableweb's own Eric Carter wrote about the Shapeways API when it was launched over a year ago in March 2013. Now, a company called "Print 3D for Me" sells keychains that feature photos sent by customers that are then printed in 3D relief. Holding the product up against the light reveals remarkable detail in the photo, as this photo reveals.


In 3DPrint, Tiffany Orr explains how the process works to create the lithophane:

Print 3D For Me’s key chain creation process is simple. An individual will upload a photo of something—perhaps a photo of their child or favorite pet. The company then turns their image into a 3D rendering, and sends the image off to Shapeways. Shapeways then prints the 3D model, and before long the key chain is in the mail, on its way to your doorstep, so that you can give it as a gift or use it as an interesting conversation piece.

Want to launch the next big 3D product company? The Shapeways API is available here.

Google Withdraws Enthusiasm for Pointer Events API, Burdening Developers

Microsoft's Pointer Events technology is a single API that makes it possible to write code that covers input from touch, mouse and stylus as one project rather than requiring 3 separate coding tasks. Google announced in January that this would be a priority, but is now favoring Apple's touch technology alone as a matter of pragmatism. This move will put pressure on mouse and stylus input, favoring touch. As Mary Branscombe reports in CITEworld backing away wasn't an attack on Microsoft but an issue of User Experience:

Google's most important objection will probably be performance: The time it takes to find out if you're touching or clicking or writing on a web page.

The impetus for Pointer Events support by Google came from developers. It's reversal means more work for them. But the problems aren't all of Google's making. As Branscombe points out, Touch Events is only on Windows Phone and not Windows 8.1 because turning it on means the mouse or trackpad fails to handle about 10% of the websites.

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Be sure to read the next Printing article: Printchomp Print API Brings Scalable Print Functionality to Apps