Tech News

The War on 3D-Printed Guns, Snake Returns on Smartphones, & More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 07-05-2015

The fight for 3D-printed guns, Snake on smartphones, Reddit’s new Original Video division, the Oculus Rift slips to 2016, Swatch gets smart on smartwatches, and Verne Troyer destroys an Apple Watch just for fun.


The 3D-Printed Guns Fight Is On

Should 3D-printed guns be legal? It’s a question that isn’t easy to answer, because it pits the right to the freedom of speech against calls for stronger gun control. Two emotive subjects without much in the way of gray areas and compromise. Especially in the United States. Still, it’s an issue that needs deciding, and fast.

Why? Because the blueprints for a 3D-printed firearm are already out there on the Internet, and have been for two years thanks to Cody Wilson. He created the Liberator, a plastic pistol that anyone can piece together using 3D printing What Is 3D Printing And How Exactly Does It Work? Imagine if you could print out three-dimensional objects straight from a printer in your home. When I was a kid in primary school, I thought it would be awesome if I could print pizzas out... Read More . The State Department demanded he remove the blueprints from the Internet, but two years on he’s challenging that demand.

According to Wired, Wilson’s advocacy group Defense Distributed has filed a lawsuit claiming the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) “violated their first amendment right to free speech.” The question is whether posting blueprints for a 3D-printed gun violates arms export controls or not. Suffice to say, it’s a highly complex issue.

The problem is that while it’s being discussed, hundreds of thousands of people are downloading the blueprints for Liberator, and the most enterprising of these people are actually evolving the design. It’s unlikely the 3D-printed firearms genie can ever be put back into the bottle, but we still need to decide what, if anything, we’re going to do about it from here on out.

Snake Finds Its Way to Smartphones

Snake is back, making its first official debut on smartphones. Snake Rewind takes the classic gameplay of directing a snaking line of pixels around the screen collecting segments, and adds new elements to it. Elements such as the ability to “rewind the Snake to continue the game even after crashing.” Hence the name.


There are already plenty of unofficial clones of the classic mobile game available for smartphones. However, Snake Rewind has the differentiating factor of being made by Taneli Armanto, the person responsible for pre-loading the game onto the Nokia 6110 in 1997.

According to The Guardian, Armanto left Nokia in 2011, and has been self-employed ever since. Snake may be his biggest achievement [Broken URL Removed], and he previously said, “When we created Snake for the Nokia 6110 in 1997, we wanted to give people an entertaining experience, but we never imagined that it would become the classic mobile game.”

Snake Rewind is due to be released on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone on May 14. Pricing details haven’t yet been released, but the game is expected to be a freemium title 5 Warning Signs For Avoiding Freemium Games That Want To Suck Your Wallet Dry Many games are free up-front, but bombard players with an endless array of in-game purchases, some of which are impossible to avoid if you want to complete the game. Read More , with new levels and boosters available to purchase.

Reddit Creates Original Video Division

Reddit is set to start producing original content, creating a video division to kick things off. The AMA (Ask Me Anything) section The Best Reddit AMAs Of All Time [Weird & Wonderful Web] Under the IAmA subreddit, you'll find informal interviews with all sorts of interesting people. These are some of the best AMAs online. Read More will be the first beneficiary, which is unsurprising given that this is one of the most popular parts of Reddit.


Co-founder Alexis Ohanian told The Verge, “Reddit’s mission is to connect people across the world through authentic conversations, collaboration, and community — video is an amazing storytelling medium and there’s no better wellspring of original stories than Reddit.”

Oculus Rift Is Shipping in 2016

Oculus VR has announced that the first Oculus Rift aimed at consumers will be launched in the first quarter of 2016. Pre-orders will be taken later this year, with the virtual reality headsets shipping at the start of next year. Oculus VR is part of Facebook Facebook Bought Oculus: Is VR Dead Before It Began? What happens when the little guy that everyone loves to rally behind gets sucked up into an evil corporation and becomes rich? A veritable storm of writhing anger, apparently. Read More , which acquired the company for an astonishing $2 billion in 2013 Facebook Oculus Rift, HTC One M8, MS-DOS Source Code, IRS Bitcoin [Tech News Digest] Facebook causes an Oculus rift, HTC One blah blah, Microsoft frees MS-DOS, IRS rules on Bitcoin, Disney buys into YouTube, Google launches Photowall, and lots of white guys wear the Oculus Rift. Read More .

According to the Oculus VR Blog, the consumer version “builds on the presence, immersion, and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype with an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design, and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit”.


Swatch Wants Better Smartwatches

Swatch is working on a new “Super Battery,” with the ultimate plan being for it to power a smartwatch for a full six months on a single charge. This is according to the Swiss newspaper, Handelszeitung, as reported by Gizmodo. Seeing as the battery inside the Apple Watch How James Bond Made Me Buy an Apple Watch Bond has always had a thing for watches. Indeed, some of the best gadgets Bond has ever used have been timepieces. Which means he would buy an Apple Watch. As will I. Read More struggles to even last a day, this is a ludicrously ambitious plan.

Swatch is, of course, one of the traditional watchmakers whose livelihoods will be threatened if and when the smartwatch form factor takes off in a big way. So, getting in on the act Why Musicians Really Hate Spotify, Swatch Teases Smartwatch Plans [Tech News Digest] Where the Spotify money goes, the new Swatch smartwatch, Google Glass reborn, Madonna goes mad on Snapchat, watch old TV shows for free, and watch old people react to virtual reality porn. Read More by targeting the biggest problem still facing smartwatches is an extremely clever strategy. If, that is, Swatch can actually pull it off.

Verne Troyer Destroys an Apple Watch

And finally, we all get to watch Verne Troyer, AKA Mini-Me, destroy an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch hadn’t actually done Troyer any harm, but he still decided to shoot a hole through it anyway. Just because.


It’s actually rather satisfying seeing an Apple Watch explode in slow-motion. All that Bond-inspired design is turned into dust within seconds. Perhaps bullet-proof glass would be a feature of your ultimate smartwatch. [H/T Mashable]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Should anyone and everyone be allowed to print their own gun from blueprints obtained online? Will you be downloading Snake Rewind on your smartphone? Are you planning on buying an Oculus Rift when it’s released in early 2016?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credits: Jithesh via Flickr

Related topics: 3D Printing, Apple Watch, Online Video, Reddit, Smartwatch, Virtual Reality.

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  1. Gb71
    May 11, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    First heard of snake in the early 80's on the ZX Spectrum. Hasn't changed much. Should have been mentioned in your article.

  2. melissa
    May 8, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Just more junk liberals trying to impose their way of thought and life on the world. One thing they don't understand, and trust me, they don't understand A TON but one simple thing that they have trouble understanding is that the more you sensationalize something, the more you lionize it, the more interest that thing you're lionizing will ultimately have. It's like your mother telling you your whole life not to do something when you come of a certain age. Well, chances are, your curiosity is going to get the better of you and whatever it was she told you NOT to do, you're going to do! Not only that but, LEAVE US ALONE! There are already gun laws out there. You can't control people making things on their private printer. More laws? That's the answer? Yes, b/c as we can see, your world of laws and regulations work so well, don't they? It's been proven that the less laws, the less people are ultimately going to carry out that 'unlawful' act. It's just human nature and liberals have this idea that humans will conform to their liberal way of the how the world works when really, it often perpetuates the very thing they are telling us not to do, or do for that matter. They're just RIDICULOUS. Not to mention, most libs don't really care about people getting shot, killed, the environment, the poor, etc, they just care about 1. control and 2. power. Look at obama care, perfect example. Total failure right from the start but we constantly hear how 'great' it is. That's b/c it was never meant to give you and I true health care, but rather control us using the very thing we need most- good health! In truth, liberals are the worst scumbags on the planet, exploiting the stupid people to vote for them for generations. They're all quite evil.

  3. Mike
    May 8, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Banning stuff like this is he usual wet liberal knee jerk reaction to anything they disagree with and rather than look at the root causes of social issues and fixing that, they´re too lazy and react like this. There are sickos, religious nuts and mental retards out there who want to kill people on some whim and apart from being on our guard and having adequate protection to minimize these threats there´s little we can do about it.

    Two very specific threats are raising themselves today thanks to the wet liberals namely Islamic extremism and wanton rioting in major cities. The left have this agenda of making the rioters in say Baltimore or the wannabee Jihadists in Garland, TX the victims whilst law abiding citizens have become the criminals. Whatever ones thoughts on plastic guns, its lime the left dealt with the ill thought out and costly social engineering programs instead of blaming everyone else for their failures.

    Maybe plastic weapons will help home owners protect themselves, they at least should have the choice.

  4. John Williams
    May 8, 2015 at 10:05 am

    The whole printed guns thing has been overblown. There may well be many copies of the design drawings downloaded but few have the sort of 3D printer needed to make the real thing.
    Printing the (special) ammunition doesn't seem to be prominent in all the media hype nor does the issue of where people can access the chemistry to fill the bullets.
    And who wants a plastic gun anyway? Many parts of the world are awash with real metal weapons. Why go to all the hassle of making a plastic gun when you can aquire a real one so easily?
    If you just need a "frightener" with no intention of firing it, you would be better off with a plastic replica of a real gun rather than a blocky, lumpy ABS 3D print that looks more like a toy than a real toy.

  5. dragonmouth
    May 8, 2015 at 12:00 am

    If penalty for gun possession was death, it still would not get rid of illegal guns. As the NRA says "If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns."

  6. Kevin M
    May 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    They make this gun control issue sound like they could have stopped it in the first place. Typical of the closed minded morons that fight this stuff. The only way to stop printing of 3D weapons is to make 3D printers illegal and even then with the right parts you can build your own. Then there is the issue with the blueprints they want removed from the web. Like that is somehow going to stop others from creating their own or getting the prints on the black market.

    I am so sick of these idiots that demand our rights be taken away from us and end up creating rules and laws that are only honored by the honest. They have taken away any common sense that used to be taught in schools, they have turned the rest of society into disillusioned morons and they have accomplished absolutely nothing!

    What we need is a law that makes it illegal for anyone to lobby this shit in government and an equally powerful law that forces government out of our personal life and make them leave our constitution and bill of rights alone!

    If these assholes would spend as much time teaching their kids how to be safe and how to spot trouble as they do shoving this bullshit down our throats, our world would be as safe to live in as it ever was. Hell how about these same idiots that voted that dumb ass Obama in office and made him king, wake up to how that asshole has and still is dismantling this country and help us get the bastard impeached!!!

  7. kt
    May 7, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I watched the whole video for the 3-d printed gun, very good stuff. I have restored, modified, and upgraded many a gun and there is more to gun building than a plastic lower receiver:
    1. He has a class 3 ffl to manufacture receivers (the only part of a gun that needs registered).
    2. The rest of his gun is purchased in parts. You need to have most of the parts made from steel (barrel, springs, trunnion, etc).
    3. When Glock invented the polymer lower pistol, rumors flew about using no steel, metal detectors not detecting them, etc. There is still a lot of punched and machined steel on there.
    4. I know guns are a polarizing topic, but when either side skews facts to make a point, it just hurts the cause.
    5. I believe at some point 3-d printers will be able to use metals, but barrels will always need to be machined and rifled on a lathe and printed parts will never be as strong as forged and machined parts.
    6. I read that over 97% of gun crimes in the U.S. are committed with hand guns, not high capacity sporting guns.
    I don't want to sound like that guy that thinks everyone needs a gun. I like background checks, registration, etc. The sad fact is: people that commit violent crimes don't care about the laws. Drugs are illegal, and they are everywhere in the U.S. Definitely a hard topic to discuss, thanks for posting it.

    • Griff
      May 8, 2015 at 10:54 am

      You can make all of the guns you want without registering them. Homemade guns do not have to be registered with the ATF. However, if you sell them, you have to have the appropriate license. I also disagree with your using "always" in several places. Infinity words like "always" and "never" tend to come around and bite you in the bottom. As you said,just give it time and there will be 3D printers using some form of metal but I think they will be able to build barrels. Nothing as good as Krieger but usable. I do agree that they probably will not be as accurate or well built as a machined weapon. Technology has a way of making change happen more quickly than we can believe. I do agree with most of what you said. Guns DO NOT kill people. They just lay there until someone picks them up. Just like knives, clubs, saps, and other objects. If society wants to stop the killing of people, work harder to ban fools who drink and drive. They kill more people/year than people with guns.

      Great article. Keep up the good work.