Facial Recognition and 3D Printing Collide
Olaf Diegel, Professor of Additive Manufacturing at the University of Auckland, is well known for his 3D printed guitars. His students and he conduct many more experiments and projects, however. Recently he used a Mimaki 3DUJ-553 3D printer and a 3D scan to make a copy of his face to see if he could fool facial recognition. The $180,000 machine printed the face and two other models in 11 hours in acrylic using the standard quality mode, including 32-micron layer thickness.
Subsequently, Diegel, and his team then, “scraped off most of the soluble wax support material by hand, and then put it in the ultrasonic cleaning bath for about an hour, then rinsed it off with cold water while brushing it with a stiff brush (to remove any last bits of support material) and, finally, wiping it with isopropyl alcohol. Then I gave it about 3 or 4 coats of very matt clearcoat (45% matt), and hand painted the eyes with a gloss clearcoat to make them sparkle a bit.”
This seems to be quite an accessible task and the resulting 3D printed face is remarkable. The investment for such a machine is also foreseeable, as would be the part cost. You could order a face replica from a 3D print service, as well. This has some profound implications that we should address. People have been publicly playing around trying to fool facial recognition for years now. Cybersecurity firm BKAV tricked the iPhone X FaceID with a 3D printed mask in 2017, and made a better mask later on, while others have fooled Android face scanning. Artist Sterling Crispin made 3D printed datamasks which obscure your face from surveillance by the government and social media picture snappers.
Facial recognition is a burgeoning field. We use it to unlock our phones, as well as to make purchases using the same device. Facial recognition is also relied on for access control to buildings and sensitive installations. Casinos and retail chains take security images of shoplifters and casino cheats, continuously scanning crowds for them. Police can facial recognition to quickly identify suspects or victims. Your photo is compared to biometric data in your passport to gain access to countries. Facebook uses it to determine who is in your photos, In China, Ant Financial will spend over $400 million trying to convince people to use facial recognition for payments and schools use it to track attendance.
China is a huge user of facial recognition for security, as well. Shanghai has 113 cameras for every 1,000 people, and the country has facial recognition files for all of its citizens. Counting those from commercial companies, the country has 200,000 million cameras. Megvii Technology, SenseTime and YITU are facial recognition startups that use AI and have received $1.4 billion, $2.6 billion, and $400 million respectively. Facial recognition is key to China’s plans for maintaining order in their country and beyond.
One journalist stated that, “What the Communist Party is doing with all this high-tech surveillance technology now is they’re trying to internalize control… Once you believe it’s true, it’s like you don’t even need the policemen at the corner anymore because you’re becoming your own policeman.”
The utopian view of this would be that facial recognition is a ubiquitous technology, running in the background of every social interaction and each of our moments and that it promotes good behavior and safety. A more negative view would be that Orwell was quite prescient indeed. While another view maintained by comedian Keith Lowell Jensen is: “What Orwell failed to predict is that we’d buy the cameras ourselves, and that our biggest fear would be that nobody was watching.”
So, if we take these views and combine them, we discover that the Orwellian surveillance state is probably a lot smarter and efficient than the one Orwell dreamed up, while Aldous Huxley‘s view that we’d sink into a morass of self-absorption is also correct, only the drugs are many not one.
We are seeing a collision course emerging that will affect our industry. Our cute little technology may just be a key for weakening a surveillance state, carrying out sophisticated crimes, fraud, terrorism, and regaining liberties in the future. 3D scanning and 3D printing are the easiest technologies to capture and replicate 3D surfaces, such as faces. Our technology could be used in the future to create veins and pores and other markers, as well as cornea. We can thank to Mimaki to do millions of colors and 3D printing could do capture textures, too. Our technology can evolve quickly and, like no other, we can iterate and improve to meet new challenges. At the core of our technology is the ability to quickly create new shapes. And this is exactly what you would need to do in order to continually outfox a surveillance state, for noble or criminal reasons.
As an industry, we need to be prepared for this. Do we take up the pen argument? You can write beautiful poems and hate speech with a pen. It is not our job to regulate what our customers do with it. Sadly, lawmakers have been quick to develop new laws specifically aimed at 3D printing in the past. Do we build in a security feature that would put a telltale sign on every print letting scanners know that it is an artificial copy? What would that mean for us? Do we take sides? As an industry, do we commit to quashing this? Or do we encourage a free exploration of this technology, since, after all, every technology—even a fork—can be dangerous? This is something that we shall need to think about because our technology, inventively and inevitably, will be used for evil and good to disrupt both evil and good.
via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
April 9, 2021 at 08:36AM
Anouk Wipprecht’s 3D Printed Meteor Dress to Premiere on “Yuri’s Night”
Known for creating fashion designs that move, breathe and react to the environment, Anouk Wipprecht revealed her latest piece: the interactive 3D printed Meteor Dress. The outfit is packed with LEDs that light up every time a meteor hits the night sky and burns through the Earth’s atmosphere. Created in celebration of the virtual space party Yuri’s Night, the Meteor Dress runs a Python script driven by space data. From the signature aesthetics to the upscale combination of science, engineering, and fashion, Wipprecht’s piece is a creative challenge.
The dress weaves together illuminating, 3D-printed parts that light up when meteoroids fall through a sampling of real-life meteor data, generating meteors at the given rate and the correct brightness distribution as it would have been observed in the sky. Inspired by the Dutch designer’s technological couture DNA, the Meteor Dress showcases her know-how of engineering, robotics, science, and user interaction experiences designed to transcend mere garment appearances.
Since launching her work in 2007, Wipprecht has been partnering with tech giants like Intel, Autodesk, Google, Microsoft, and Audi, as well as leading 3D printing innovators Materialise and Shapeways, to research and develop how future technologically embedded wardrobes would look like. By combining robotics, sensors, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI), she is developing interactive couture, wearable devices, and smart textiles.
This latest addition to her collection is not just one of a kind, but genuinely resembles a vision of the night sky during a meteor shower. The Miami-based designer teamed up with Co-Founder of Yuri’s Night and Virgin Galactic advisor Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides to come up with the idea for the dress. Then she turned to Denis Vida, a meteor physics graduate researcher and software engineer at Ontario’s Western University who is building a global network of video meteor cameras called the Global Meteor Network. According to a Twitter post by Vida, the dress will be premiered during Yuri’s Night world space party on April 12, 2021, worn by organizer Hidalgo Whitesides.
Like every year since 2001, Yuri’s Night commemorates milestones in space exploration. The 2021 virtual event coincides with the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first trip to space. In honor of the event, an all-star cast of space heroes, scientists, artists, and musicians will honor the turning point in space exploration. The organizers will hold a free global livestream event beginning at 7:00 pm eastern time on April 10, two days before the actual anniversary.
With an interest in increasing garment digitalization, Wipprecht’s collection includes vanguard pieces imagined for the emerging field of fashion technology, which is characterized by niche segments like 3D printed couture, high-tech fabrics, and wearable technologies. The innovator has suggested that fashion currently lacks microcontrollers. To solve this challenge, she likes to embed sensors in her designs that monitor the space surrounding the wearer.
Similarly, body sensors included in her high-tech garments control the person’s stress levels, such as comfort or anxiety. A perfect example of this aesthetic is the laser-sintered Intel-Edison-based “Spider Dress.” It is one of her most publicized pieces since it incorporates sensors and moveable arms helping create a highly defined boundary of personal space. When these sensors notice the wearer’s respiration heightening and the looming proximity of another person, the mechanical limbs move up to an attack position and then retract.
Projected as “host” systems around the body that tend towards AI, Wipprecht’s exceptional designs are inspired by nature. Even the names were chosen as a tribute to some of the most complex creatures on the planet, like spiders, octopuses, and pangolins. Although her latest Meteor Dress evokes streams of cosmic debris that light up the sky, it is not her first experience recreating a natural phenomenon. In 2020, the designer showcased a “Smoke Dress” that elicits “visions of interstellar nymphs frolicking in Neptune’s ice caves.” This time, Belgium’s natural underground caves inspired a unique piece that camouflages itself with smoke whenever someone is approaching.
Proximity is clearly one of the overarching themes for the tinkerer, along with advanced technologies and some of nature’s greatest defense mechanisms. Wipprecht’s futuristic take on fashion concepts is meant to redefine garment trends, intended to match advances in technology with 3D printable materials and fabrics. The space data concept behind her Meteor Dress could transcend time, as updates of new information about meteors is fed to the system. Moreover, the synchronous meteor tracking idea could be the start of a trend at the intersection of fashion and science.
via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
April 9, 2021 at 08:06AM
Continuous Fiber 3D Printing Used for USAF Aircraft Wing Structure
Idaho-based company Continuous Composites owns the earliest granted patents on Continuous Fiber 3D Printing, or CF3D, which can reduce manufacturing lead time and manual labor and enable the production of complex geometries. The company just announced that its CF3D technology was used to complete a two-year Wing Structure Design for Manufacturing (WiSDM) contract for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) through Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT). The project, with an end goal of manufacturing a Low Cost Attritable Aircraft (LCAA) wing, was extremely successful, as Continuous Composites reports that the carbon fiber 3D printed wing spars demonstrated a structural performance to “160% design limit load.”
The focus of the WiSDM contract and LCAA project was to majorly decrease the lead time and cost of building attritable airframe structures, by using a new structural design framework and corresponding manufacturing and materials; that’s why CF3D was chosen to print the wing assembly’s structural carbon fiber spars. However, several other manufacturing technologies were also used during the program, including:
Continuous Composites’ CF3D technology was used to print two carbon fiber tapered C-channel spars, each weighing four pounds and measuring eight feet long.
CF3D is, according to Continuous Composites, a “novel approach to composites manufacturing,” and is a fully automated, configurable process. A continuous dry fiber is impregnated in situ with a snap-curing, thermosetting resin delivered by an end effector, which is moved by a software-driven motion platform; to allow for variable part thickness and ply drops in the resulting structure, cutting and feeding are also used. Parts are precisely printed, and optimized for high performance with the continuous fibers, which then leads to the cost and lead time savings.
The final wing assembly delivered to the United States Air Force, where it was statistically load tested. The fully assembled wing gave a stellar performance: before the compression skin buckled, it achieved 160% design limit load (DLL). The 3D printed spars held, with no measured or visual damage, which demonstrated the component’s structural performance. Finally, the CF3D-fabricated carbon fiber spars were able to achieve a 60% fiber volume fraction with approximately 1% to 2% voids.
via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
April 9, 2021 at 07:36AM
Safran and SLM Solutions 3D Print Novel Landing Gear for Business Jet
French landing gear manufacturer Safran Landing Systems teamed up with SLM Solutions (AM3D.DE) to 3D print a novel patented part design of a nose landing gear for a business jet. The joint objective of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of producing a large main fitting part using selective laser melting technology for the first time. Known for its lighter, quieter, and cost-efficient landing and braking systems, Safran has pioneered and revolutionized the industry by using lighter materials and more electric systems. As for its new patented part design, it is meeting the company’s mass reduction objectives, as well as some ambitious resistance.
The component was printed in a special titanium alloy on SLM Solutions’ large-scale metal 3D printing SLM 800 platform which has a build area of 500 x 280 x 850 mm. The material was chosen mainly due to the stringent requirements of the part. The landing gear is designed to absorb and dissipate the kinetic energy of landing impact from the wheel to the aircraft structure, reducing the impact loads. Titanium alloy has high mechanical properties and is naturally resistant to corrosion so it does not require any surface treatment. Additionally, it helps increase part durability.
SLM Solutions worked side by side with Safran in the production of the part, which measures 455 x 295 x 805 mm and was redesigned for metal-based additive manufacturing (AM), allowing time-saving throughout the entire process, along with a significant weight reduction of 15 percent. The Additive Manufacturing project leader at Safran, Thierry Berenger, said the choice to partner with SLM was due to the pioneering company’s expertise in selective laser melting and their SLM 800 machine, which exactly met the size and reliability requirements they needed.
The SLM 800 features an extended z-axis perfectly adapted for large-scale part production. The machine is equipped with SLM Solutions’ proven quad-laser technology and innovative features, like the patented gas flow and a permanent filter, that ensure the highest reliability. One of the strengths of SLM technology is its flexibility, as design changes can be quickly modified, printed, and tested, meaning less time is spent during the prototype development. SLM 800 is also outfitted to fulfill industrial-scale production thanks to its multi-machine configuration option. Through the SLM HUB, an automated cylinder handling and powder management station, the company has opened up new possibilities for large-scale industrial metal AM.
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The airline industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many airlines do not expect a quick return to pre-2020 operation levels for many years. According to aviation analysis firm Oliver Wyman, domestic travel revenue isn’t expected to return to 2019 levels until the second half of 2022, with international travel revenue not expected to get back to its 2019 level until 2023. Many airline companies have chosen to retire their planes altogether, like Delta. The Atlanta-headquartered company will be retiring its entire fleet of Boeing 777s by the end of the year. On a similar move, British Airways will withdraw its entire 747 fleet after travel downturn.
Due to the nature of the pandemic, commercial airlines could be planning to redefine travel over the coming decades by increasing seat capacity for more comfort and social distancing. While they sort out how they want their planes to look in the future, the business jet market is already returning to normal, and private jet sales are increasing. Recovery is being spearheaded by the U.S. in March 2021, with midsize jets flying more than in previous years. Europe is also witnessing an improvement, despite the ongoing pandemic. Private jet operator GlobeAir said there are nearly 700 fewer “touch points” and person-to-person interactions when flying by private jet compared with commercial aircraft.
Aside from large commercial aircraft, military planes, and helicopters, Safran is a leading supplier of the world’s business jet programs, including Bombardier‘s Global and Challenger families, and the complete family of Dassault Falcon jets, supporting more than 4,000 business jets in service. Pioneered in the early 1990s, Safran provides fully integrated landing gear systems for business jet platforms.
The company has stated that the challenges of the business jet market require a holistic view of the product life cycle to supply reliable, easy to maintain, and increasingly weight-effective and sustainable landing gear systems. This manufacturing need fits perfectly with AM workflows. Actually, for this project, SLM Solution’s robust machines can help Safran optimize fast, reliable, and cost-efficient part production, working towards modernizing landing gear manufacturing for business jets.
via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
April 9, 2021 at 07:06AM
3 Key Indicators of Great Company Culture
Additive manufacturing is not immune to the thread that binds a team or company together. A thread better known as ‘company culture.’ Each business has one, each one is different.
Since 1983, when Charles (Chuck) Hall created the first 3D printer, an industry has exploded in advanced and additive manufacturing. We can see today that 3D printing is revolutionizing significant sectors such as the automotive, aerospace, or medical industries. It is clear that we have come a long way from that first printer prototype. With this growth, came a myriad of new businesses and organisations that have taken the technology and transformed it, in a global effort to charge forward industry 4.0 technologies.
Start-ups emerging in the industry, whether first-time businesses or part of a more experienced portfolio, all have one thing in common to kick-start their growth in the market: defining a strong company culture. It’s an element that is vital to the continued success of a new business idea, especially when it comes to securing the right team to propel the organisation forward.
This caused us at Alexander Daniels Global to question: “What makes great Additive Manufacturing company culture?” We put our heads together and identified what we consider to be the ‘3 Key Indicators of Great Company Culture’ specific to Additive Manufacturing. Read on to learn more:
A strong combination of academia and industry
Coming in at number 1, we considered that businesses within 3D-Printing which have successfully grown, have demonstrated a strong combination of academia and industry. By this we mean the businesses favour both strong knowledge of additive manufacturing processes and business acumen. They value employees that demonstrate a high level of specialized education and/or experience within AM, but equally recognise those who are entrepreneurial and contribute to the business efforts.
For a company to excel within additive manufacturing, there must be a level of respect and appreciation for all disciplines that contribute to the growth of the company. When this is understood and implemented, you have the fine beginnings for a great additive manufacturing company culture.
Realism about the technology
With additive manufacturing and 3D printing being such an adolescent industry and technology, respectively, it is important for businesses within AM to recognise the limitations that creates. Being realistic about what the technologies, and therefore employees, are able to achieve can go a long way to creating a great company culture.
It isn’t reasonable to expect the next industrial and technological leap to come from your warehouse tomorrow. Maybe with time, sure, but as with most things it is important to walk before you run. As such, companies that celebrate the small successes, that set realistic targets and recognise innovation and the strengths of their employees, are much more likely to see greater satisfaction in the workplace. In turn, when you create a great work environment by understanding these principles, you will start to see an increased level of employee retention. With employees staying on for longer periods of time, you may even have the chance to nurture the next technological break-through.
An adaptable approach leading to innovation
For our final key indicator, we want to present a real-life example of a company that was adaptable and therefore able to pursue an innovative, albeit obscure, project that led to recognition and revenue (two very important R’s). We’re talking about HP teaming up with Cobra Golf and Parmatech to launch the first 3D printed golf putters using HP’s metal jet technology. HP has been better known for their contribution to R&D since the launch of their 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in 2019. However, this didn’t stop them from being adaptable with their technologies to pursue a collaboration with Cobra Golf.
HP recognised the benefits of making this business and manufacturing decision, that strayed slightly from their usual work. They took a creative leap and gained new ground on the capabilities of 3D printing. Their adaptable approach led to innovation.
It is always admirable that a company believes in the work they do, but it should not be a trait of a business to allow it to stunt development and advancement.
In summary, at Alexander Daniels Global we speak to candidates daily that have entered the industry, who are led by a passion, drive, or conviction about the technology and/or its potential. We believe that for companies within the additive manufacturing value chain to really see the full potential of their employees, they need to focus on creating a work environment with our 3 key indicators somewhere in its core. Great company culture in additive manufacturing is fostered when employees are recognised, held accountable and given the scope to creatively problem solve. Most likely they joined your business because they love what you do and how you do it. Let’s aim to keep it that way.
If you wish to discuss any of the details within this article, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
April 9, 2021 at 07:00AM
Somerset House has launched a free, interactive digital archive that celebrates Black British art, called DECENTRALISE.
The platform is the first project to emerge from Somerset House’s Young Producers programme, which offers training, development and London Living Wage paid opportunities for emerging cultural producers aged 18-30 who are otherwise underrepresented in the cultural sector. Of more than 250 applicants, six people were chosen to form the Young Producers collective, who went on to create DECENTRALISE with London-based design studio COMUZI.The main idea behind DECENTRALISE was to create a resource which ”re-centres” Black people and gives them their rightful place within Somerset House’s cultural history. The platform is one element of Somerset House’s recently introduced “Anti-Racism Pledge“, which the organsioans says “commits to conducting, and making available, new research into what is currently understood of Somerset House’s social history.The platform centres on around 16 objects spanning design and interaction that either draw from or are inspired by past exhibitions at the London site, such as Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019) and Return of the Rudeboy (2014) to 2026: Utopian Voices Here & Now (2016). Among the object images used on the site are an illustration of a flag, inspired by A new artwork Pan African Flag For The Relic Travellers’ Alliance, by Larry Achiampong (at Somerset House 2016 – 2017); a disc image drawing on BLACK TO TECHNO (2019), a film by Somerset House Studios resident Jenn Nkir; a pink patterned tile-like graphic inspired by the archives of Althea McNish, which were featured in Get Up Stand Up Now; and a photomontage-like image that references Untitled 2018, by Deborah Roberts, also featured in Get Up, Stand Up Now. The works on show were created by by Black artists and creators including GAIKA, Richard Rawlins and Althea McNish. Together, the objects work to examine themes including Afro-Nowism, Afrofuturism, Political art and “Disobedient art.”Users of the platform are encouraged to use these virtual objects as their own materials, and form their own artworks using them as tools, building blocks or jumping-off points. Each image can be used like a brush against a black canvas, or as collage elements that can be scaled and stacked. These user-generated pieces then feed back into the DECENTRALISE archive to further tease out themes from former exhibitions and consider how they relate to “the personal and collective experiences of what it means to be Black and British,” according to Somerset House.The site itself is joyfully colourful, mixing the aesthetics of comic books and net art with vapourwave skyscapes and modern day emoji-language. It’s a joyful assault of bold typography and a mishmash of vibrant colours, with some excellent sound design by Wu-Lu, which offers users a sort of live soundtrack to your tinkerings. We’re going to be brave here and bring back the term “edutainment”. Why? Because in the hours we lost playing with the site, we learned a lot, and had a hell of a lot of (very maximal) fun.
via People of Print https://ift.tt/2DhgcW7
April 9, 2021 at 03:39AM
W.E.B Du Bois
Over the last few years, the work of civil rights activist, sociologist and early data visualisation pioneer W.E.B Du Bois is finally getting the recognition it deserves. During his lifetime, Du Bois was at the forefront of early 20th century Black protest movements, publishing his essay collection The Souls of Black Folk, in 1903 and co-founding the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People in 1909.
The design world has been increasingly celebrating his smart, clear and rather beautiful data visualisations, and a new exhibition looks to shed further light on his series created for the “Exhibit of American Negroes” at the 1900 Paris Exhibition.
The pieces use graphs and charts to detail the socioeconomic conditions facing Black Americans in Georgia, presenting income, marital status, property ownership, and more, “and plainly and inventively illustrate the conditions of racism over the decades following emancipation to both European and American audiences,” as Artspace New Haven, which is hosting the show, puts it. “The colorful portraits Du Bois created render this information in a uniquely modernist style, a simplified and stylised approach to data visualisation.
“Du Bois turned numbers into solid colour fields, bending bar graphs and spooling figures into spirals as he did so. In these deliberate representational decisions, Du Bois merged his sociological practice with strikingly artistic gestures.”
Du Bois’ works, 30 of which are arranged in a show titled W.E.B. Du Bois, Georgia, and His Data Portraits, form one of three legs of a multipronged exhibition trio that also uses the work of Theaster Gates and Dana Karwas to add further colour and narrative to personal and emotional stories that revisit those Black Americans that Du Bois charted more than a century ago. Together, the shows look to underscore and explore the questions around representation that still grip Georgia today.
For Theaster Gates’ show, the artist was both inspired by, and aimed to create a dialogue with, Du Bois’ visualisations. He’s presenting two neon sculptures, which act as modern data data totems: stats were gathered together and transformed into abstract colour fields and geometric patterning motifs. Like Du Bois, Gates has crunched numbers into a new form that’s both beautiful and poetic, taking data and using artistic wit and creativity to underscore the emotion, people and all-too-real stories behind the figures. It’s a brave and noble gesture indeed to weave that sort of poetry, considering the recently re-erupted controversies around race and representation in Georgia.
Artist Dana Karwas’ show, In A Heartbeat, was inspired by Du Bois’ short speculative fiction story The Princess Steel, which was only uncovered as recently as 2015 and which has been hailed as a powerful way to consider Afrofuturism’s “pre-histories”. The narrative centres on a character who takes 200 years of data about the “everyday facts of life” and attempts to forge a historical arc from it. It’s a fitting starting point for Karwas, whose artmaking frequently focuses on the idea of “human reference frames” and the boundaries of perception that make what might otherwise be invisible, visible. Karwas has created three sculptures that question the power of tiny data fragments to yield significant consequences, or conversely, the fact that they might not mean too much at all.
W.E.B. Du Bois, Georgia, and His Data Portraits, on view March 26 – June 26, 2021; Theaster Gates, on view March 27 – June 26, 2021; Dana Karwas’ In a Heartbeat, on view March 26 – May 22, 2021.
via People of Print https://ift.tt/2DhgcW7
April 9, 2021 at 03:32AM
What Are Landing Pages? Data-Backed Tips & Examples
Have you ever clicked on an advertisement from Google or social media and landed on a page that felt like it was speaking directly to you?
Chances are, the page you saw was a landing page.
Landing pages are standalone web pages that have a single focus: to convert traffic. They often concentrate on single offers like a webinar or product, and the message is directly related to that offer alone.
They may not be as popular as regular signup forms or popups, yet they have some of the highest conversion rates – ranging around 2-7% and often going into double digits! That’s because landing pages keep your audience focused since they often have fewer links to click, less information to digest, and a single call-to-action for visitors to engage with.
All this means that landing pages can be a game-changer for your marketing goals. They can turn traffic into leads faster than many (if not most) marketing tools in your toolkit.
So in this piece, we’re going to cover:
Let’s dive in.
Table Of Contents
What are landing pages?
A landing page is a standalone web page you create to drive conversions from a specific marketing or advertising campaign.
In other words, a landing page is where your audience “lands” after clicking on an ad or marketing campaign (the clue is in the name, after all.)
Usually, there are five core elements that every high-converting landing page must have:
Because of this, landing pages are often short on information and big on the sell.
For example, if a visitor clicks on a free webinar you’re offering, the landing page may offer a bit of background on your webinar, a bullet-point list of what they’ll gain from it (your selling points), along with a call-to-action (your single ask on the page.)
Like this landing page we created using the GetResponse Landing Page Creator:
What do you notice?
You’ll also notice that, unlike a regular homepage, the landing page is missing navigational bars and only has a few links at the top. This is to keep the visitor focused on signing up for the webinar and not getting distracted with anything else that’s normally on a webpage.
And having this single focus is what makes landing pages one of the best tools for marketers looking to boost their conversion rates.
Now that you know what landing pages are, let’s look at how they compare to your website homepage.
Want to practice while you learn? Try GetResponse Landing Page Builder for free for 30 days. It comes packed with ready-made templates and a drag-and-drop editor, so you can get your page live in less than 1 hour!
Is a homepage the same as a landing page?
In short — no.
A homepage and a landing page are – in most cases – designed for different things.
Most homepages give your visitors lots of options for moving around your website, like navigational bars, links, blogs, and even a contact center. It’s up to the visitor to decide what journey they want to take — not you.
Landing pages are different.
They have a singular goal: to convince a visitor to convert. And that’s why they only focus on a single product, webinar, or offer at a time. You’ll know you’re on a landing page (as opposed to a homepage) if you only see:
Like this landing page from Monday.com:
Here’s what we notice:
This “homepage vs. landing page” division is simple, but only in theory.
When browsing the web, you’ll often notice that some brands try to merge these two concepts and design their homepages for maximum simplicity and conversions.
Take the Monday.com example again. If you go to their homepage directly (instead of clicking an ad), you’ll see the following page. Is it all that different from their landing page? Not really.
Here are a few ways their homepage’s different from the landing page:
As you can see, the theory is often different from reality. But it’s not so much about getting the definition right but about building your pages in a way that’ll help you maximize conversions. And speaking of conversions, let’s now look at why you’ll you need landing pages.
Why do you need landing pages?
Landing pages are essential for a bunch of different reasons — from boosting your conversions to giving you a better insight into your target audience.
1. They’re the best tool for converting visitors
As we said earlier, landing pages are the best converter out of every tool in a marketer’s toolkit, averaging between 2-7% across all industries.
There’s a reason they’re so good at converting: they offer a visitor a reward they can access immediately, whether it be an ebook, a product discount, or a webinar invite. That sense of reward pushes visitors to hand over their details so they can gain access to the reward instantly.
It’s a win-win scenario because it allows you to capitalize on your traffic coming from paid advertisements or social media. If you are driving traffic to a targeted source (like an ebook offer) instead of just sending them to your homepage, it’s more likely that your visitors will convert because there’s something in it for them.
When you do this, it also brings another benefit — deeper insights into your target audience.
In our own campaigns, we often see conversion rates ranging between 20-30%, however, the results vary depending on the type of traffic we drive to our landing pages. Cold traffic coming from paid advertising campaigns will naturally convert less likely than visitors coming from your email campaigns or private social media group. It’s worth
2. Landing pages uncover crucial data about your visitors
See, you might think you know who your target audience is, but without cold, hard data — you’re really just playing a guessing game.
That’s where landing pages come into play. They can track the people who convert on them and give you valuable insights into what platform or advertising campaign led them there, what content they like best, and if they continue down your marketing funnel after they convert.
Armed with this information, your marketing team can then tweak any future campaigns to make sure they’re spending advertising dollars on the right channels and offering the content your target audience actually wants to see.
3. They help you run your marketing campaigns faster
Getting a new page live would normally take you weeks if not months.
Not only would you need to make sure your page fits the overall site architecture, but also you’d need to get a lot of people involved – likely a designer, web developer, a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, and someone that knows about web analytics.
With landing pages you can be more agile. You can come up with new ideas and test them much faster.
If you’re using a landing page builder that comes with ready-made landing page templates, you can get your page live in less than hour as:
And you can trust me when I say that creating landing pages this way is liberating. In the GetResponse Marketing Department, we launch about 3 to 5 landing pages each month using the very same landing page builder.
Real-life landing page success stories
Landing pages can be a game-changer for businesses, and nobody knows this better than TruckersReport.
The site, a network of professional truck drivers that gets over 5 million page views a month, helps drivers find better-paying jobs.
The problem? Getting the drivers on the site to fill out the application form so the site could screen them.
The original landing page converted just over 12% of visitors, but the company wanted to increase its overall conversion rate.
So, the weakest elements of the landing page (no clear benefit, stock photo, too many form fields, boring headline) were replaced by asking:
Using the answers to these questions, a new landing page was designed with the target audience in mind — truck drivers who are looking for better-paying jobs.
Not only is the new landing page mobile responsive and explains the benefit clearly, but it also utilizes the Gutenberg diagram, where audiences read a page from left-to-right, top-to-bottom like so:
Once a visitor’s eyes hit the landing page’s benefit (“Get a truck driving job with better pay”), they automatically gravitate to the call-to-action: signing up to the site.
The landing page overhaul worked. Depending on what variation of the new landing page TruckersReport used, conversions increased by nearly 45%.
The good news is landing pages can be used for all types of industries and products or services.
Take Alex Terrier as an example. This jazz musician and a music teacher reported a 19% email signup rate when promoting his online course using GetResponse.
Here’s the landing page he used:
Not that complicated right?
There are a few reasons why it’s so effective:
In other words, the value proposition of his offer outweighs the potential friction that might be caused by the signup form. The persuasive copy on the other hand, ensures that people that end up converting have the right motivation and are likely to become a high-quality lead.
If you’d like to read other success stories like these visit our marketing case studies page.
Types and examples of landing pages
Landing pages come in all shapes and forms.
You can see this clearly in our article featuring some of the best landing page examples.
Although they vary so much, marketers have tried to categorize them either by focusing on the page’s goal or the type of offer they were using.
Here’s a list of the most common landing page types & names you may hear:
Let’s take a deeper look at five of the more popular ones.
1. Squeeze or opt-in landing pages
An opt-in page or a squeeze page is specifically used to convert landing page visitors into subscribers.
You won’t use this page to sell your products or services. Instead, its goal is to add these subscribers into your marketing funnel, where you can nurture them with email and marketing campaigns into the future.
Here’s an example of what we mean:
This landing page sticks to the basics:
After your visitors opt-in using a landing page like this, you’ll have a wealth of data you can use to send them unique, personalized email campaigns and hopefully — turn them into paying customers.
2. Sales pages
Sales pages can encompass a whole range of offers, from annual holidays (like Thanksgiving) to product launches or discounts.
The most important part of any sales landing page is that the offer is front and center. Like any landing page, the offer must match the advertisement that led the visitor there in the first place.
So, if your advertising campaign is offering customers 15% off all your company’s white papers and guidebooks, make sure it’s the first thing they see when they get to your landing page.
In your sales offer, you can also add a sense of urgency by highlighting that the offer’s available “this week only” and placing a countdown timer that’ll count toward the offer’s expiration date.
Here’s an example of a long-form sales page:
3. Paid advertising landing pages
Landing pages are an ideal way to carry a message from a paid advertisement because they keep a visitor’s interest and boost conversions with convincing copy and a call-to-action.
With the help of a template (or some serious coding skills), you can create a landing page template to follow through with the message on your paid ads to help visitors convert. For example, a paid ad advertising a new app could lead those interested to a landing page that looks like this:
Not only does the page highlight the app’s features, but it also has an explainer video and pricing options.
Plus, it sticks to some of the main landing page rules we’ve talked about already:
4. Thank you pages
A thank you page is a page that website visitors are sent to directly after they’ve completed a goal on your website.
Whether you’re capturing leads or selling tickets for your next event – you’ll want to create an effective thank you page.
Through this page you’ll want to 1) reassure the user that everything worked well, and 2) guide them to the next action you want them to take.
Here’s an example of a thank you page we’ve used for one of our recent webinars.
Even though it’s very simple, we’ve managed to:
Best of all? This thank you page had an impressive 5% free trial conversion rate & lead even more of our existing users to the new tool we were promoting.
5. Coming soon pages
Teasing a product launch or feature release is an exciting time for any business, and the right landing page can help get your message out there.
Landing pages can persuade visitors to keep an eye on an upcoming product launch or feature release by offering early sign-up deals or discounts. Take this landing page example, which offers visitors a chance to try out a product before it’s released:
Using a tool like GetResponse, you can even create your own landing pages to suit any upcoming product launch or event you want to create some excitement around. No need to know how to code or worry about setting up a separate domain if you haven’t purchased one yet – everything’s done for you.
Now that we know what landing pages types there are and what they look like, let’s explore how you can design an effective landing page.
Below, are nine landing page best practices you’ll want to keep in mind. You can read more on those in this article, by Peep Laja, on the ideal landing page structure.
9 landing page best practices
1. Start with a benefit-oriented headline
The headline is the most important part. If the visitors came by clicking on an ad, it must correspond to the ad text that triggered the page. If your banner or PPC ad said „Breakthrough meditation system“, then this phrase should also be included in the headline of your landing page.
2. Keep your copy relevant and short
Make it clear, relevant, concise. Don’t put too much text on the page, as the visitor has to be able to read it quickly. Use bullet points to drive the main points home. Make sure the language in the ad is also present in the copy of the landing page (otherwise visitors will doubt whether they’re in the right place)
3. Keep users focused on one specific action
There should be only ONE possible action for the visitor to take – be it subscribing to something, making a purchase, or something else. Don’t offer options or the conversions will suffer.
4. Skip the distracting navigational links
Remove all extra clutter – links, menus, buttons – that have nothing to do with the particular ad/campaign. The point is that the visitor cannot ignore your message by navigating away, and therefore focuses on only that page.
5. Make sure your subscription form is prominent
The one action you want the visitor to take has to be big and obvious. Put a large sign-up form on the landing page, and make it stand out. If the landing page is long enough for scrolling, duplicate the form or button at the very bottom of the page.
6. Maintain your brand
Don’t make your landing page look different from your overall website and brand. Keep the same colors, fonts – the overall look and feel of your main site. This helps to enforce the brand awareness.
7. Make sure your value proposition is irresistible
8. Keep your form short
Unless you need to know everything about your website visitors, it’s best to stick to the essentials and keep your signup form short.
Adding an extra field to your form will increase the so-called friction and decrease your conversion rates – and the drop is quite significant.
Based on the latest GetResponse study, you’re likely to see an average conversion rate of 3.07% if you have two fields in your landing page forms and only 1.22% if you have three. That’s a potential 60.3% decrease in the number of signups you generate.
It’s for you to decide whether getting that extra piece of information is worth the decrease in conversions. But keep in mind that there are other ways of getting access to this kind of data, e.g. through progressive profiling or data-enrichment services like Clearbit.
9. A/B test your landing pages
There’s no such thing as the perfect landing page, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t reach double-digit conversions right from the start.
When designing your landing page start with your gut feeling. Then ask yourself questions, like:
As you’ve compiled these questions, begin to run a/b tests. A/B testing your landing pages means that your traffic will be split into two (or more) and each group of visitors will see a different version of your page. With each A/B test you’ll learn more about what works best for your audience and what drives you the most conversions – be it free trials, sales, or demos.
Common landing page questions
1. Should you really use videos on landing pages?
A landing page’s goal is to convert every visitor — and video can help you do that.
Just take a look at our attention spans. According to Statistic Brain, the average attention span is now down to a ridiculous 8.25 seconds, but studies show that 95% of viewers actually absorb the messages of the videos they watch. So by using videos on your landing pages, you can make that 8 seconds last.
Videos can help conversions, too. TechJury found that using landing page videos can boost conversions by 86%. But this isn’t always true. The latest GetResponse Email Marketing Benchmarks study showed that landing pages that contained videos had 42% lower average conversion rates.
Why such discrepancies? Most likely due to the fact that some marketers share videos that are either too long or that take away the focus from the main offer, i.e. what’s behind the signup form.
Now, there are a couple of different ways you can incorporate video into your landing pages so that they won’t destroy your conversion rates. The most common being testimonial and explainer videos:
Here’s an example of a simple yet effective landing page using an explainer video:
What do you notice first?
There’s hardly any text on the landing page. Apart from the landing page header, the only way the visitor can learn about the offer is to play the explainer video. It’s here they’ll learn more about how they’ll benefit from the product the company is offering.
Setting up the video this way not only increases the likelihood that the visitor will watch it but, because of the persuasion used in the video itself, it can also increase conversions on the landing page.
The only downside to video is that it’s more difficult to include in landing pages, as you have to know how to embed the video yourself.
Thankfully, a tool like GetResponse can help. With GetResponse, you can upload an existing video (or create a completely new recording) and then add it straight to your landing page — no coding skill required!
Once it’s uploaded, GetResponse will automatically resize it and make sure it fits into any template perfectly.
What to consider before adding video to a landing page
Despite all the benefits, you need to consider whether a video will work on the particular landing page you are designing.
The good news is that video is usually only a poor addition because of bad execution, like incorrectly uploading the video or slow page load times.
For example, if you fail to condense a video before uploading it onto your landing page, it can slow down your landing page and drive visitors away. The longer your page takes to load, the more chance you have of visitors bouncing. If it takes 2 seconds or less, roughly 7% of visitors will bounce. But if it takes 5 seconds? That number shoots up to 38%.
The other issue comes from poor placement of a landing page video.
If it overwhelms the landing page by leading them away from your call-to-action, so you may need to rethink your strategy.
The idea of a landing page video is to persuade a visitor to convert, not distract them altogether — so keep that in mind when using them.
So, videos can be helpful on landing pages if they’re used correctly.
2. What’s the ideal length of a landing page?
The answer is this: it depends on what you are selling or offering.
If you are offering something like a webinar, this is called a “simple” ask because you’re just asking for their email address (and possibly their name), and they’ll get access to the webinar. Shorter landing pages also work better for risk-free asks, like a free sign-up or trial offer.
Take this example from 911 Restoration, which deals with emergency disasters. The company gets 90% of their bookings online, so for them to survive, their landing pages need to convert. Their old landing pages were long and gave site visitors a ton of information. Maybe… too much.
So, they decided to change it up and cut down on the copy, leaving only the essentials that customers needed to deal with an emergency. This is what they came up with:
The results speak for themselves.
The shorter landing page generated 35 calls from 133 clicks — a 37% increase in conversion rates and a cost per conversion saving of 33%.
Clearly, it’s a big win for the shorter landing page.
However, if you are selling a $2,000 software product, you are going to need more than a list of bullet-points to convince your visitor to purchase your offer. In fact, visitors even enjoy reading longer-form messages if they’re interested in what you’re saying — and science backs this up.
A team of scientists studied a group of industrial magazine readers and found that they actually preferred longer copy. The team discovered the readers found the shorter copy less interesting and therefore less inclined to read it.
“The results suggest that longer ad copy is needed to communicate the type of information sought by industrial prospects, empirically confirming beliefs held by the advertising industry,” the report said.
So, how long should your landing pages be?
It ultimately depends on what you are selling. If you are offering a free trial or webinar, you’ll likely do better with a shorter landing page. However, if you are selling a higher-priced item, you’ll need to win your audience over with some convincing copy.
Now, to the last piece of the landing page puzzle: how much should they cost?
3. How much does it cost to create a landing page?
There’s no calculator you can use to estimate how much a landing page will cost your business.
That’s because there are so many factors that go into making a landing page successful. A landing page needs to go through optimization, A/B tests, and tweaks to be ready for your target audience.
Quick look at a service like Upwork and you’ll see that you’ll need to pay anywhere between $10 and $100 per hour for a freelancer to develop a landing page for you. You can also enlist an agency — but expect to pay anything between $500 to $3000 for a landing page.
Of course, there’s always another option: smart software.
Using a tool like GetResponse Landing Page Builder, you can create beautiful, responsive landing pages that can increase your conversion numbers for a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional agency.
Not only does GetResponse have its own landing page creator, but you can also choose from hundreds of professionally designed, mobile-responsive templates to help grow your contact list and sell your products.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what the tool can do for your business:
For a more detailed walkthrough, go check out our post on how to create a landing page for high conversions.
On top of the landing page building capabilities, the GetResponse platform also comes with other useful tools you’ll need to run effective lead generation campaigns.
So as you can see, with just one tool, you’re able to not only generate leads but also nurture them with automated and tailored communication.
Landing pages are a bridge between your advertising campaigns and your conversions.
They are a vital piece of your marketing toolkit that has a single purpose: to get your visitors to sign-up for what you’re selling.
And that’s the reason they’re so successful.
The trick to using landing pages successfully comes down to how well-focused they are, how persuasive your messaging is, and how well they’re executed with design and copy length.
The good news is that because landing pages are now an essential tool in any marketing campaign, most marketing suites — including GetResponse — offer complete landing page capabilities so you can hit the ground running.
Think you’re ready to create your first landing page? Go ahead and try GetResponse for free.
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April 9, 2021 at 02:57AM
VELO3D Going Public Will Take Metal Powder Bed Fusion to New Territory
(3DPrint.com PRO is available only to subscribers)
Over the last six months, the additive manufacturing industry has been riding a wave not seen in a decade. In March, the rumors that VELO3D—one of the youngest companies in the metal additive manufacturing industry—was going to go public in a SPAC deal were confirmed. This makes VELO3D the third metal additive manufacturing company to do so in just the last three quarters. Like Markforged and Desktop Metal before it, the decision is being driven by a major surge in interest in additive manufacturing technologies partly due to the coronavirus pandemic. If we’re doing comparisons, however, that’s more or less where the similarities between VELO3D’s current situation and the previously mentioned upstarts of sinter-based metal additive end.
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via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
April 8, 2021 at 11:42AM
Mitsubishi Electric and AMT Partner for 3D Printing Post-Processing Automation
As discussed in the “Automation, Additive Manufacturing and the Factory of the Future” report from SmarTech Analysis, we’re seeing the 3D printing industry both used as a means of establishing factory automation and become more automated itself through new technological developments. Among the most important parts of the 3D printing workflow that can be automated for improved efficiency is post-processing, which is often made up of a laborious and costly series of tasks.
Among the players attempting to tackle this niche is the U.K.’s Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT), which has announced a partnership with Mitsubishi Electric. Together, the companies will further automate AMT’s PostPro 3D chemical vapor smoothing machine.
The PostPro 3D already smooths parts made by laser or high-speed sintering, HP multi jet fusion and fused deposition modeling technology in an automatic fashion. Pre-defined parameters and algorithms apply AMT’s physicochemical Boundary Layer Automated Smoothing Technology (BLAST) process to the parts, smoothing them with 1μm precision.
Multiple parts made from the same materials and with the same requirements can be processed simultaneously. Surface roughness (glossy or matte finishes) can be selected and the information can be stored for process monitoring. After about 90 to 120 minutes, the parts are finished and ready to used, with the machine capable of automatically re-ordering consumables. According to AMT CEO Joseph Crabtree, this level of automation can substantially reduce part finishing, which account for 30-70% of the total manufacturing costs.
Now, with Mitsubishi Electric, users can integrate six-axis robotic arms that improve productivity further. Now, with Mitsubishi Electric, users can integrate six-axis robotic arms that improve productivity further. The PostPro 3D is outfitted with power supply, switchgear, servo drives and motors, and FR-D700 frequency inverters from Mitsubishi. It can then be outfitted with Mitsubishi’s MELSEC iQ-F Series compact PLC, HMIs, SCADA or MELFA robotic arms to automatically place prints in or remove them from the PostPro 3D system.
The Japanese manufacturing giant seems to be hemming away at the edges of the 3D printing industry, with various subsidiaries contributing here and there to additive manufacturing. This includes a new directed energy deposition (DED) line from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and a “dot forming technology” DED technology from Mitsubishi Electric. The biggest action seems to be coming from Mitsubishi Chemical, which has developed 3D printing filaments, as well as invested in Freeform Injection Molding startup AddiFab.
Post-processing is a key sector for 3D printing, given the costs and labor already mentioned. However, there are only a handful of players focused entirely on this sector. In addition to AMT, there is PostProcess Technologies and DyeMansion. Others are focused entirely on automation specifically, such as AM-Flow, which will, of course, be essential to integrating 3D printing onto the factory floor. All of this, as discussed in the SmarTech report, will change the shape of 3D printing as we know it.
via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
April 8, 2021 at 09:06AM