Last month I brought you the story of RepRap, a rapid prototyping machine that was the first machine to build a copy of itself. I covered some of the possible long-term consequences of this development. Apparently the TSA read my post and reacted swiftly to protect America and the world from this robot menace. OSCON (Open Source CONvention) was this last weekend in Portland and the creators of RepRap brought the child machine with them to show off. On the way back, the TSA dismantled the crate holding the machine by unscrewing the permanent screws instead of the ones marked “Open Here”. Unable to put the crate back together, they shipped it as-is with a whole side open despite the “Fragile” stickers all over it. When the crate arrived back in New Zealand, the machine was completely destroyed. So thanks TSA, for protecting all of us from this grave threat!
About 3 weeks ago a very important milestone in technology passed with little fanfare or notice. For years now, we have had 3D printers. These are exactly what they sound like, machines capable of printing rigid, 3D objects using plastic, resin, or some other similar material that can be laid down in layers. They are often used for rapid prototyping, but also see use for weirder applications like making custom figurines of World of Warcraft characters. The important event, though is that one of these machines built a working copy of itself.
by Joe La SacThursday, April 10th, 2008
It seems clear to me that the next stage in informatic integration is break down the barriers that exist between the innumerable platforms and content online. The next stage should be “mash up” of everything that exists so far, so that all the redundant content is no longer separable. For example, as an opinion in the Economist writes, how can one move furniture from Second Life into the newer metaverses like Entropia? This is not possible today, given modern conditions of production and exchange. But arguably, there is a greater metaverse out there, one in which all online content can be exchanged and flow fluidly to and from the existing “gated communities,” if you will.