MakerBot, the company that brought us the 3D printer to “democratize manufacturing” has been making the news a lot lately with their clever stunts and interesting business model. Their most recent stunt involves Stephen Colbert, and it’s a doozy.
We first looked at 3D printers last month. The technology is astounding, bringing us a step closer to Star Trek replicators. MakerBot and their premier offering, The Thing-O-Matic, tapped Comedy Central’s host and pundit of The Colbert Report to make a replica of his head. In true open source fashion, they put the data collected online, allowing designers to modify the famous head in any creative way they saw fit.
With the actual head replica, they did what any true geek would want to do. They sent it into space. Using a weather balloon, a camera, and a GPS-enabled phone, they sent his head smiling into the sky between 65,000 and 100,000 feet to the edge of the atmosphere. It was launched from Newburgh, NY, and recovered “in Connecticut somewhere” around 4 hours later.
Below are the produced video highlights followed by the complete 84-minute ballooncam footage.