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Designers recreate Stone Age tools with space-age technology

A revolutionary tool gets a 3D-printed makeover

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For more than a million years, the simple stone hand axe was one of our most important tools, but in the age of smartphones and virtual reality it can be hard to understand how revolutionary it really was. In their design series "Man Made," Dov Ganchrow and Ami Drach use 3D printing to make the tool's importance a little more clear.

With help from Dr. Leore Grosman from the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the design duo started out by collecting rocks of just the right size and shape from the Negev desert in southern Israel. Once the stones were sufficiently chipped and then scanned — a process described as "one of hastened evolution and bleeding" — a series of handles were designed that turn the teardrop-shaped rocks into everything from a spear to a more traditional two-handed axe. The idea is to show just how amazingly useful the seemingly basic hand-axe can be.

"Each of the white handle additions spotlights a singular use of the tool, absenting all other use possibilities, effectively transforming the ultimate multi- tool into a specialized tool," the creators say. "Any multi-tool becomes specialized when frozen at a single moment in time during its use."

Photography by Moti Fishbain

3D-printed stone age tools