This post is in response to the following video: Chris Anderson: Makers – The New Industrial Revolution
There is a certain sense of liberation when you own a 3D printer for yourself. It is literally a game changing device that has brought me joy, and access to being able to manufacture what is in my mind into reality. Chris’ descriptor of placing bits into atoms is fairly apt.
I had no idea that digital manufacturing has gotten as customizable as it has. If it is as flexible as it says it is, then we are talking some serious technological adaptability. My mind has been resting on the concept that factories were still fixed. While robotics have replaced a large chunk of manufacturing labor forces, I understood them to be as varied as their tasks were. This meant specialized hardware, and very specific demands. Tesla’s automated multi-purpose robots are amazing.
I think far ahead, and imagine how having just one of these would be an amazing concept. A multi-purpose construction system. Built in 3D printer, Built in CNC, Built in Laser cutter, as well as drill, welding, forming, bending, screwing, bolting, and whatever else you need that thing to do. Just one of these would augment human power by factors.
Another aspect that I love about this, is the concept of singularity and this. If the manufacturing equipment is so powerful, and adaptive, then in theory the computer can analyze designs, modify it to enhance the operational design, and built it. Could an Artificial Intelligence improve our technology, and even invent that? Once computing power exceeds that of the human ability, we may find this answer.
I have seen glimpses into this world on websites that offer 3D printing services. Upload your design, they print it, and then mail it to you. Simple, efficient and short lived. However it gives access to that person who never would have been able to.
The Maker Shops that Chris was mentioning sounds like a dream, and is something that I have been considering creating for Bangor. What I did not consider was the addition of a workshop in conjunction to advanced manufacturing systems. Now I must consider having two separate locations. The DownTown storefront, restaurant and micro manufacture, and a more urban workshop where all the tools and equipment are.
I think it is really important to supply these resources and abilities. There are incredible amounts of ideas and possibilities out there that do not get the opportunity to see the light of day. It is almost criminal to keep all that locked up. If you have thought about it, most likely someone else has as well. In the end, it is who can get to the resources first that is the real winner in any race of innovation.
I see value in Chris’ vision, and proof. It is essential, and will expand the possibilities to be able to tackle problems we haven’t even discovered yet.