Digital Trends Live: Google Maps AR, a real-life replicator, and more

On episode 63 of Digital Trends Live, DT’s live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Matt Smith rounded up the hottest stories from the world of tech. First up on the docket: Google is adding an augmented reality (AR) feature to Google Maps. The AR guide will enable users to hold their phone up and see directions and other helpful notices in the physical space they are looking at. David Pierce of The Wall Street Journal got a chance to try the new feature, which is coming to the wider public soon.

In other mobile news, Samsung has a Galaxy Unpacked event coming up on February 20, and the company released a teaser all but confirming that viewers will get a look at the long-awaited foldable phone. We still don’t know what exactly the foldable phone will look like, but rest assured that we’ll have coverage as soon as details surface.

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have exciting news for Star Trek fans — they’ve developed a new 3D printer reminiscent of the replicator from Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi franchise. The printer uses a process called Computed Axial Lithography (CAL), in which light hits liquid resin, causing portions of the resin to harden, forming a sculpture. The process is much faster than traditional methods of 3D printing, in which objects are built layer by layer.

Later on in the show, Greg and Matt talked to Kate Welch, a game designer at Wizards of the Coast who works on one of the most esteemed gaming properties: Dungeons and Dragons. Welch spoke about her time in the video game industry and how she transitioned to working on a pen and paper role-playing game.

“It’s been a very steep learning curve,” she said. “I think one of the best stories that I have about it is there was a point where we wanted to completely change the mechanics and story of an upcoming product that we’re working on, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is going to push our schedule back so much,’ and my boss was like ‘No, it’ll take two weeks to write this, and then we’re fine.’ That is not possible in the video game industry, this is a six month delay at least! The agility of being able to make sweeping changes when your medium is just the written word has been pretty educational.”

Although D&D is traditionally played with pen and paper, in recent years Wizards has brought the game into the digital space with the D&D Beyond app. Welch gave some insights into how the community has responded to the new era.

Digital Trends Live airs at 9 a.m. PT from Monday through Friday, with highlights available on demand after the stream ends. For more information, check out the DT Live homepage, and be sure to watch live for the chance to win occasional prizes.

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