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Fax My Jeans Up, Scotty

Additive manufacturing (AM) known as 3-D printing or Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) makes teleporting a reality. Not people yet, but soon– though at best it would only be a copy.

BAM (Biomedical Additive Manufacturing) however, is a reality, and according to a recent  University of Texas  publication, real meat AM organs are projected to arrive in under 15 years. Had they arrived a little sooner, Steve Jobs could have printed himself the liver he needed. Already, AM hips, joints and artificial limbs are digitally manufactured and successfully installed in and on people.

The manufacturing of the humanoid is inescapable since the same printing machine could make lunar landing gear components and hip acetabula indiscriminately. Materials including titanium and multiple varieties of polymers are applied in micron thin layers and forged using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). The original technology grew out of Stereo Lithography (SL) that used polymers for quick prototypes. Now AM is the rapid manufacturing of single fully customized objects, both humanoid and otherwise.

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This is the most disruptive gig going: No more shipping. And the AM printers are becoming cheaper. Currently some can be homemade for under a few thousand dollars, whereas those under development to assemble complete airplane wings are of course vastly more expensive. AM is the ultimate fax, fax on crack, and Computer Assisted Design (CAD) is the engine of it all. What’s digitally designed can be stored in the cloud and rained down– or up– to any one with the appropriate printing machine. Think Guttenberg’s printing press changed things? This is bigger. Printing DNA (yes, the stuff of genes!) is on the horizon. Digitized objects or progeny in the clouds delivered to outer space or inner space. We’ve arrived: virtual reality to real reality. Beam me up my perfect fitting jeans or a kneecap or even designer human ova. “In the future,” says the National Center for Manufacturing , “90 per cent of all products will be developed virtually.” Fax is a feminist issue now. Study CAD!

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1 Comment

  • Avatar for Deborah Anderson Deborah Anderson says:

    I have to say the title grabbed me. Then, when I read “printing DNA,” it really brought it home. Wow, the sci-fi films don’t seem as far-fetched as they used to seem.

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