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3D-printed internet traffic looks a lot like your first attempt at pottery


Unless you live under the tyranny of a bandwidth cap, you probably aren't spending much time looking at the amount of data passing through your home network on a regular basis. But what if there was a way to visualize it beyond a graph, perhaps even in a way that you could touch? That's the idea behind EXtrace, a 3D printer that models the traffic from a German internet node. This isn't just any node, however. As 3DPrint tells it, the De-Cix in Frankfurt is one of the world's largest when it comes to data throughput. The printer uses this traffic as a basis for spitting clay onto a spinning plate, and each of the end-results represent two days worth of data transfers; more traffic in a given period means thicker sections of the column. And that's it, really. The EXtrace's creators say that they don't have any other plans for the prototype and that they've already moved on to other projects. Who knows, though -- maybe Will.I.Am would be into expanding on this sort of thing.

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