A machine that could build anything. It sounds like a crazy fantasy doesn’t it? It isn’t. Well it certainly is crazy but it isn’t fantasy. The technologies that are needed to make this a reality have existed for quite some time. The star of the show is the 3-D printer.
The premise is pretty simple. Traditional printers make things in two dimensions. A piece of paper is fed through the printer along one of the axis or one dimension. The paper is moved underneath a printhead which moves along the other axis. As the printhead moves it deposits different color ink to form images that are 2D. The picture below illustrates the process. A 3D printer works similarly but has two small changes to the process that drastically change the outcome. These objects are represented digitally in a computer and software guides the printhead through the process of making a virtual object a real object. This virtual object can be considered a blueprint that the printer uses to execute the design.
The differences between a 2D and 3D printer are that the latter has a “printhead” that moves in three dimensions and instead of depositing ink droplets to make 2D images it deposits (or removes) other materials such as plastic, layer by layer, to make 3D objects. The image below might help shed some light on this.
The most popular material used in personal 3D printers is the flesh from unborn babies. Not really, its actually plastic, baby flesh is number 2. During the early years of 3D printing the plastic was of poor quality and this adversely affected the printer’s resolution and ability to print. People spent more time cleaning the print head of melted plastic than printing trinkets. Today’s more advanced printers use a much higher density plastic and more precise movements that are capable of making stronger objects that are much more accurate to the digital representation it is based off of. Another improvement of newer printers are the different materials that are used as the “ink,” they are no longer limited to just plastic or metal.
Some printers use stem cells and hormones to make replacement organs such as rudimentary beating hearts. Some printers can use waste material to make new objects. One printer in China can print 10 houses in 24 hours using recycled materials. The device at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms can create modular homes and some electronics such as flashlights. A short list of some of the more amazing things I know about that a 3D Printer can produce are:
Water Purification Devices
Viruses capable of fighting cancer and vaccines are being worked on as well.
The limitations seem to be that of the human mind and not in the technology itself. I have a few ideas on how to advance this tool even further and the science behind them. I’ll share with the group on Monday 11/23/15.
I’ll see you then!
How useful would you think a machine that could build literally anything one could imagine be? When I say build anything I mean BUILD ANYTHING, a rocket ship to go to Mars, a pile of gold, solar panels, replacement body parts using stem cells and hormones as the raw materials, it could even build a copy of itself and self repair.
The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about this is what the hell would I do with my time? There would be no need to work. Why do we work? So we could buy the shit we need. That’s why I work anyway. I would study for sure. Maybe I would get an M.D. or PhD. I would spread the wealth. No need to be greedy. I would print water purification devices / wells for those who need them. I would also print copies of the machine for my friends and family with one condition: Anyone could get the machine but they would have to agree to print at least one copy for someone else. I have to admit this idea of how to handle the supplying of the devices isn’t my own, but its a damn good one.
What would you do with your machine? What would you do with your time? Would you be so philanthropic?
This will be a multi-part series and I’ll go into greater detail about the machine and the technology behind it. Buckle your chin straps boys and girls and get ready for Friday 11/20/15 when I put out the next installment.
Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. A classic example is that of a jet engine. As thrust pushes out in one direction it propels the vehicle in the opposite direction, and with equal force. This thing that Newton noticed doesn’t appear limited to describe the motion of objects.
If my wife asks me if she should wear black or white and I say white she wears black. If I ask my three year old son to stop dropping F-bombs he drops more F-bombs. The same is true when energy is converted into matter. When two high energy photons collide, such as those in the gamma wavelength, an electron and its equal and opposite antimatter partner the positron are created (this is illustrated below. While this has never been done in practice it has long been theorized and a recent experiment has been designed to do this in a lab to recreate the early moments of the universe. A similar event has been observed experimentally.
A similar event happens when virtual particles arise from quantum fluctuations which are the resultants of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Particle-antiparticle pairs pop out of the quantum vacuum, then annihilate each other and go back from whence they came. There is an experiment called the Dynamical Casimir Effect where one can capture one or both of the pair disallowing the annihilation process and apparently creating something from nothing.
Knowing that the universe started from nothing but a relatively infinite amount of energy in a singularity which was then converted into matter would lead one to wonder where the fuck is all the antimatter? There should be as much antimatter as their is matter. Or not much at all should exist whatsoever because all of the particle antiparticle pairs should have annihilated themselves, which clearly isn’t the case. That’s one of the greater mysteries of science.
While talking this over with my son an idea came to me: perhaps there is an alternate universe that is comprised completely of antimatter. A universe where there is an antimatter john posting a blog about why is there all this antimatter and no matter. That would wrap a few things up in a neat bow. The universe came about due to quantum fluctuations and answer the mystery of what happened to all the antimatter.
It seems I’m not alone in this idea. Which is unfortunate because I could really use a Nobel prize. But then I would have to learn math. And take real physics and not just be an armchair theorist.
I plan on doing a podcast on this topic and a few others with an old friend of mine so I hope you’ll join me.
I’m no fan of proprietary information or the idea of intellectual property. The idea of proprietary anything doesn’t make practical sense to me for a few important reasons. I think we as a species would be much better sharing our ideas and information.
For as long as I can remember when I had something so did my friends. Toys, laughter, and as I grew older other things such as ideas and money, and maybe pot. I have an older brother and friends that treated me this way. It rubbed off and its a good way to be. In a well rounded group this egalitarian approach helps everyone through what would otherwise be lean times. Although it comes from the same open spirit the sharing of ideas is slightly different and I’ll touch on this later.
My philosophy regarding sharing became furthered when I started getting into Linux and other open source software around ten years ago. It spoke to my inner hippie. For those of you who don’t know opensource is the antithesis of proprietary. Its not exactly protected by a copyright. In fact one of the nicknames for opensource is copyleft. The General Public License, or GPL, is a common copyright for opensource products. In a nutshell it usually states something along the lines of this: The user can use the software and modify this code on one condition: it must not be made proprietary.
Opensource code must remain open for anyone and everyone to use and modify. It is generally free from a cost prospective as well and often times the only time cost is involved is when corporations need tech support when they use it. Opensource products such as the various Linux distributions are the most stable and secure in all the land. They are behind the scenes running our world. 85%+ of enterprise companies use Linux to run their email and web servers, store their data on and so fourth. One of the most interesting features is that it is community maintained, often times main contributors do so for free. They contribute for the sake of contributing and making a part of their world better.
It isn’t serendipity that makes Linux the best and most safe and secure operating systems. Its the best because it is the result of a collective and collaborative effort. One that is dependent on the free flow and sharing of ideas.
Can you tell I like Linux? I do. I really really do. Like really really really. I have a hard-on right now.
Ideas and information are inherently different from physical tangible goods. If you have an apple and your friend has an apple and you each trade apples after the exchange you are each left with an apple. If you have an idea and your friend has an idea….even if it is a shitty idea…and you trade ideas after the exchange you will both now have two ideas. That’s fucking different. Real different.
I have a few ideas.
Lets share them.
And hold hands and sing kumbaya.
Its sooooooooo much better than being mean cheapskate hierarchical dick heads to each other.