Fabbing the future

This week I read Bruce Sterling's new book Shaping Things for a possible writing gig. His ideas about a future in which space- and time-aware products ("spimes") can be manufactured (or "fabbed") right on our home desktops feels like science fiction. Yet as my recent post on 3D printers that can generate sheets of heart-muscle cells and "printable electronics" suggests, it's not so far off. Regine adds to that sense, writing on experiments by Royal College designers with rapid-prototyping equipment created by 3D Systems. "The brief was to create projects that are not prototypes but products that couldn't have been made with any other technique," she writes, and students delivered, creating a variety of products from a snap-off calendar to a functional gun.

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