walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

digital fabrication anecdote

This kind of thing makes me a little crazy.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/09/15/part-8-will-you-soon-be-able-to-make-amazons-kindle-at-home/

Well, _that's_ a provocative headline. And that's about all it is. Here's a bit of wisdom from this source:

http://www.strategy-business.com/article/11307?pg=all

"At a research meeting in late 2010, a primatologist studying monkey genetics took a tour of a university’s digital fabrication shop. She mentioned that her field research had stalled because a specialized plastic comb, used in DNA analysis of organic samples, had broken. The primatologist had exhausted her research budget and couldn’t afford a new one, but she happened to be carrying the old comb with her. One of the students in the shop, an architect by training, asked to borrow it. He captured its outline with a desktop scanner, and took a piece of scrap acrylic from a shelf. Booting up a laptop attached to a laser cutter, he casually asked, “How many do you want?”"

That is an _insane_ amount of machinery to deploy to save a primatologist the $50 it would cost to replace the freaking comb.

At least, that's what I think it costs for one of those. Perhaps one of my readers knows otherwise.

I don't precisely disagree with the general point being made (mass customization leads to craft-manufacture-of-the-21st-century), just the specifics of how that's going to happen and whether that has anything at all to do with consumer goods like an e-ink reader or a tablet.

(Price on the comb depends on how many wells it was wide.)

ETA:

Here's a head-desk moment:

"In the same way that personal computers have turned us all into amateur computer technicians and software administrators, so digital manufacture has the possibility of turning us all into amateur engineers who rediscover the joy of making things."

There are _so very many questions_ that one feels almost compelled to ask. Almost. But I've had those conversations and they are _never_ rewarding. I am not that spectrum-y.
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