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Ancestors of the Future Replicators

Self-replicating printer in development. Another article.

Not to overhype the things: they're made of a couple of plastics and a local melting point metal, plus chips, and the goal is to have it handle all three materials, and to be able to print all of its parts apart from the chips, and lubricating grease, and it won't be make its raw materials either. Or assembling the parts, a human will have to do that. So they're nowhere near being released into the desert. But it's a step.

“We know that people are going to use the printer to try to make weapons [and] sex toys and drug paraphernalia,” he says. “This is obviously not what we’re hoping they are going to build. We are hoping they are going to build more and better RepRaps.”

Oh no, people might make cheap plastic sex toys.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
heron61
Apr. 9th, 2008 04:03 am (UTC)
I'm impressed with how progress on replicators is going. 5 years ago, I read that the first desktop replicators were around 5 years away, and this seems to be true. The ones that exist are profoundly limited devices, but better ones are on the way, and ones that can manipulate metal and several kinds of plastic could produce a wide variety of objects. Throw in the technology for inkjet printing circuits and the ones available in 5 or 6 more years should actually start being able to do the sorts of things we imagine they should be able to do. I'm figuring some people will be downloading and printing action figures, bongs, and non-motorized sex toys in 3 or 4 years and many of us will be downloading and printing small low grade electronic devices in less than 10.

I image that in no more than a decade there will be a thriving subculture of geeky upper middle class teens who are creating, sharing, and printing out action figures based on recent popular entertainment, which will of course spawn all manner of uproar from the manufacturers of licensed action figures.
jordan179
Apr. 9th, 2008 08:11 am (UTC)
Oh no, people might make cheap plastic sex toys.

It's the nightmarish Icky Love Juice Goo scenario! What hath Von Neumann wrought?
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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