3D printing pen: The pens are available for sale locally, but are pricey. Picture: Supplied
There's a revolution of sorts taking over the creative sector. From art to decor, technology has found a way to integrate itself into the way we create, consume and experience things in the digital era.

The technology theme has been interwoven into this year’s ECR House & Garden Show – the H+G Maker Space is an interactive revolving exhibit featuring 10-plus activities aimed at inspiring creativity.

Internationally, this niche market has expanded in leaps and bounds. From 3D printing pens to lino canvas painting robots, the possibilities are now endless. We took a look at the latest inventions available on the market today.

Is it art?

ArtBinder is an app that digitally catalogues art pieces. For art affectionados, it is the perfect tool that lets its users perform a colour search in order to identify pieces they’ve seen.

How it works: Users seeking to locate a specific piece of art can perform a colour search. They then select colours from a palette, and from the range of colours selected, the search returns the closest matches from among the works inventoried on ArtBinder.

Is it available in SA? Yes, the app can be downloaded for free on iTunes.

ArtBinder is an app that digitally catalogues art pieces. Picture: iTunes screenshot

A painting robot

It’s no Picasso, but scientists have developed a robot that uses a robotic arm to paint. The idea behind the invention is that hopefully the same technology can be used in the medical field in the near future.

How it works: The device is fitted with a special high-tech arm that grasps a paint brush and uses it to create an oil painting. Is it available in SA? Not now.

3D printing pen

3D printing pens are all the rage right now. It’s a fun way to keep the little ones entertained and you might even have the makings of a tiny Michaelangelo. It’s a bit on the pricey side and can set you back by R1 000-plus.

How it works: The pen uses ABS plastic which is the same material used by 3D printers. It consists of a heating element which heats the plastic. Once the plastic is pushed out via the tip of the pen, it is in its molten form and can be given any shape. 

Is it available in SA? Online store www.wantitall.co.za stocks the RANDTK Intellgent 3D Printer Pen for R1265.

Lino printing

Lino printing is a form of fine art printmaking where a printing plate is cut into lino. 

How it works: The lino is inked; a piece of paper placed over it and then put through a printing press or applied by hand to transfer the ink to the paper. The result is a linocut print.

Is it available in SA? Online stores offer lino cutting printmaking sets. You can pick one up on www.loot.co.za for about R600.

Cairey Baxter, House & Garden show director, and Steve Gray from The Makers Space, inspect a homemade light. Picture: Supplied

What the expert says

From the perspective of a homemaker, augmented reality is going big in the coming year. This is according to trend researcher Chris Reid, from the International Trends Institute in Durban.

“Brands are using apps to project finished products. We see it happening in furniture, and painting brands where you print out an A4 piece of paper to see what your room will look like,” says Reid. He believes augmented reality will be doing big things in terms of technology and home creativity. 

As far as local innovations are concerned, the Makerspace have made it their mission to inspire all by expressing their creativity in a physical way. Their events are aimed at people getting together, working creatively and inspiring each other.

“The H+G Maker Space is an amazing addition to our revitalised vision for the ECR H & G Show, to ‘refresh, inside and out’,” said show director Cairey Baxter-Bruce. 

The Maker Space will take things one step further by showcasing a lino printing robot. Picture: WIkimedia Commons

* The ECR House & Garden Show runs from June 30 until July 9 at the Durban Exhibition Centre. For more info on the Maker Space visit: http://themakerspace.co.za