Star Trek-Style Replicators Coming Soon?

Stephen DeAngelis looks at some recent scientific developments and concludes that a Star Trek-style replicator could soon be reality.

Just in time to solve the Earl Grey tea shortage.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, Science & Technology,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    If they can really get these printers to use different materials, such as plastic, silicon and conductive metal, we could one day download our next computer. It’ll get really fun when somebody figures out how to make one of these print a copy of itself.

    In-home recycling would also be great, you can print yourself a complete set of dishware, then when you’re bored with it, recycle them into new dishware! Or how about throwing a party? Just print some extra dishes that match your existing ones, then recycle the extra when the party is over.

    Of course the real paradigm shift will be when people offer their designs under an open-source license. What kind of impact will that have on our industrial economy? Will printer “ink” become the main consumer item?

  2. McGehee says:

    It’ll get really fun when somebody figures out how to make one of these print a copy of itself.

    On the one hand, that would almost have to be a prerequisite capability.

    On the other hand, I can’t imagine the original designers permitting ordinary users to access such a capability — unless they can charge for upgrades.

    I’m seeing a Microsoft logo on this gizmo, I’m afraid.

  3. You mean, like DNA? I wonder what Kurt Godel would think of this?

    In other news, I was just skimming through “Watch This, Listen Up, Click Here” where the authors note that the porn industry is generally an early adaptor of all new media technologies. Things that make you go hmmm…