There’s definitely something stirring in the geek zeitgeist: something three-dimensional.
Tim Maly just published an article in Technology Review called Why 3-D Printing Isn’t Like Virtual Reality:
Something interesting happens when the cost of tooling-up falls. There comes a point where your production runs are small enough that the economies of scale that justify container ships from China stop working.
Meanwhile The Atlantic interviewed Brendan for an article called Why Apple Should Start Making a 3D Printer Right Now:
3D Printing is unlikely to prove as satisfying to manual labor evangelists as an afternoon spent with a monkey wrench. But by bringing more and more people into the innovation process, 3D printers could usher in a new generation of builders and designers and tinkerers, just as Legos and erector sets turned previous generations into amateur engineers and architects.
Every 3D printer should seamlessly integrate a 3D scanner, even if it makes the device cost much more. The reason is simple: If you set the expectation that every device can both input and output 3D objects, you provide the necessary fundamentals for network effects to take off amongst creators. But no, these devices are not “3D fax machines”. What you’ve actually made, when you have an internet-connected device that can both send and receive 3D-printed objects, is a teleporter.
Anil’s frustrations and hopes echo a white paper from 2010 by Michael Weinberg called It Will Be Awesome if They Don’t Screw it Up: 3D Printing, Intellectual Property, and the Fight Over the Next Great Disruptive Technology:
The ability to reproduce physical objects in small workshops and at home is potentially just as revolutionary as the ability to summon information from any source onto a computer screen.
But my favourite piece of speculation on where this technology could take us comes from Russell Davies. He gave an excellent talk as part of the BBC’s Four Thought series in which he talks not so much about The Internet Of Things, but The Geocities Of Things. I like that.