The Futurist Magazine’s Top 10 Forecasts for 2010 and Beyond

1. Your phone will tell you when you’re in love.
2. In the design economy of the future, people will download and print their own products, including auto parts, jewelry, and even the kitchen sink.
3. The era of brain-to-brain telepathy dawns.
4. Tomorrow’s inventors will spend their days writing descriptions of the problems they want to solve, and then letting computers find the solutions.
5. Micronations built on artificial islands will dramatically shift the face of global politics.
6. Young people will read more, and the old will play more video games.
7. Ammonia may become the fuel of choice for cars by 2020.
8. Algae may become the new oil.
9. Radical methods of altering the planet may be the only way to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
10. The existence of extraterrestrial life will be confirmed or conclusively denied within a generation.

The Futurist Magazine’s Top 10 Forecasts for 2010 and Beyond

(Thanks Pink Tentacle)

There are many more forecasts other than the top ten at this link.

I find #s 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 10 doubtful. Nine is quite possible, but doubt it will be successful. I find this scenario more probable than 2 as described. I find 6 probable, and hope 8 is correct.

First commercial 3-D bio-printer makes human tissue and organs

Invetech, an innovator in new product development and custom automation for the biomedical, industrial and consumer markets, today announced that it has delivered the world’s first production model 3D bio-printer to Organovo, developers of the proprietary NovoGen bioprinting technology. Organovo will supply the units to research institutions investigating human tissue repair and organ replacement.

Dr. Fred Davis, president of Invetech, which has offices in San Diego and Melbourne, said, “Building human organs cell-by-cell was considered science fiction not that long ago. Through this clever combination of technology and science we have helped Organovo develop an instrument that will improve people’s lives, making the regenerative medicine that Organovo provides accessible to people around the world.”

R&D Magazine: First commercial 3-D bio-printer makes human tissue and organs

(Thanks James K!)

Get Ready for Printed Electronics

We were all quite impressed when the RepRap printer managed to reproduce itself some months ago. But in fact the reproduction was only of its structural members, whereas the metal bits and electronics were not actually reproduced. No worries, it will eventually happen. […]

Xerox has invented a new type of “Silver Ink”, purportedly for 2D inkjet-style printing. However, we suspect this might also be ideal for 3D printers.

Fabbaloo: Get Ready for Printed Electronics

(via Global Guerillas)

Distributed Manufacturing Beyond Trinkets

Primary good that can be presnetly produced via Ponoko: a bat box. Sounds simple, admittedly, but it’s well suited to the current production capabilities of Ponoko. Additionally, this qualifies as a “primary good” precisely because, by housing bats in one’s yard, it’s possible to 1) control insect populations, and 2) accumulate valuable fertilizer from the bats for use in localized food production. Bee hives and relate systems are another good example, though the need for wire mesh is slightly beyond the current Ponoko capabilities. Another: cold frames. Worm farm. The list goes on.

Primary good that can be produced via Ponoko with modifications to its capabilities: A hand pump. This would probably require the ability to work with metal, in both sheet and tube form. I recognize that this is well beyond the current capability of Ponoko, but it’s not theoretically that big of a change. Also, if you added the ability to work with sheet metal and pipes/tubing, the universe of potential “primary” goods would open quite quickly (e.g. solar water heaters, stoves, etc.).

Jeff Vail: Distributed Manufacturing Beyond Trinkets

Build a Polar 3-D Printer from Legos


ave you ever dreamed of having one of those replicators from Star Trek? Ever wanted to make just about anything at the flip of a switch?

Well guess what? You’re in luck, because in this Instructable I will show you how to make the closest thing to a replicator that current technology can manage; a 3D printer.

Wait a minute, isn’t there another Instructable on how to make a 3D printer from Legos? Yep, there is, but this 3D printer is different; it’s a polar 3D printer and it’s capable of printing out so much more than just chocolate.

Now at this point in the intro you’re probably thinking what do I mean by polar 3D-printer. Is it a 3D-printer that only works in the in the polar regions?

A polar printer is a printer whose principal axes, or how it can move, are radius(in and out), angle(spin clockwise/counter clockwise), and as opposed to a Cartesian printer whose principal axes are X(left/right), Y(up/down). In other words, it moves just like a polar coordinate system.

So why did I make a polar 3D printer instead of a good ol’ Cartesian 3D printer?

1. I didn’t have enough Legos to build a Cartesian printer.
2. I hope to eventually add a 3D laser scanner to it so I can scan in objects and send them to another printer somewhere else in world. Making sort of a ‘teleporter’.

Full Story: Instructables

(via Bruce Sterling)

Personal fabrication and design for community resilience

While the LifeTrac project may free rural communities from dependence on specific, for-profit tractor manufacturers, it will not free them from dependency (and the associated side effects) on distant manufactures of engines, smelters of metals, or producers of tires. While this may be an improvement, it’s a Pyrrhic victory at best, as it will only transfer to locus of their dependency-derived problems, and will not actually bolster their resiliency to external shock or their ability to extract themselves from the growth-related problems that come from lack of localized self-sufficiency.


One example of rhizome platform design already in action is the Cinva Ram (hat tip to BrianT). The Cinva Ram is a low-tech, low cost, but highly effective manual press for creating mud bricks out of a variety of locally-sourced materials. A team of four people can make as many as 500 bricks a day with this device, and it can be easily assembled at the community level using open-source plans. Other examples, just in the building materials arena, include advances in rammed earth construction, experiments in papercrete construction, etc.

Full Story: Rhizome

Eco-friendly fabbers

equinox machine

Last week the 3rd year Industrial Design students at Victoria University presented the prototypes of the 3D printers they had designed. The challenge was to design and make a ‘green’ 3D printer in 4 weeks with a limited budget. The students innovative thinking looked at ways to make use of waste material and repurpose it into new objects.

Full Story: Ponoko Blog

(via Bruce Sterling)

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