Self Replicating Fabject

March 18, 2005

Adrian Bowyer is eccentric, and a real visionary. He has conceived, and is trying to make, a kind of household appliance that can create objects from plans. Do you need a new glass? This will make it. Need a replacement part for some machine? This will make it. He’s a long way off making one yet, but it will happen one day, as is the nature of technology. And as he progresses he says he will put those plans on the Internet for anyone to use, no copyright, no patent, anyone can make one. The very cool part of this is that the machines will be able to replicate. If your son or daughter leaves home, you can make them one with your own as a gift. You could make them for friends, it’s like an open source, freeware appliance. This is a conceptual follow-up of the Universal Constructor by John von Neumann, which was conceived decades ago. With rapid CAD prototyping, and 3D object printers (which Bruce Sterling can’t get enough of) this could become reality sooner than you think, and it will change things so much it’s hard to imagine.
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