For something with so much “newsworthy” material, there sure was minimal press presence at the World Future Conference (which didn’t even have a press room set up to coordinate informational materials, etc.). Ed, who was there for three solid days, said he only encountered one other person with a press badge, and she was representing her web podcast. The reason I bring this up was that, rather than having to go pester people about doing interviews, we were frequently being tracked down by folks looking to get some coverage on their project, message, book, etc.
While waiting to chat with the Texas A&M guys, we were engaged by Dr. Paul D. Tinari of the Pacific Institute for Advanced Study, who had spoken on 3D Printing on the Saturday program (which I guess Ed had attended). So, once we were done shooting yesterday’s interview, we headed out into the hallway to talk to Tinari.
As you can tell from the following, he is a “true believer” in the future of 3D printing, claiming that within a very short time we’ll have neighborhood fabrication shops that will be able to knock out pretty much anything on a couple of days’ notice … from kitchen equipment to $5,000 electric cars (he notes that even complex assemblies such as the transmission will be able to be printed as one unit as the technologies improve).
Oddly, not a lot of folks at the show were even aware that a 3D printing conference had been in town just before them. Tinari was almost dismissive of the current players, focusing more on manufacturing systems that would print in various metals as well as the current plastics, allowing for things such as cars to come out of large-scale printers.
As he notes in the video, Tinari is working on a book Prophesies of JOOM (“just on order manufacturing”) which will detail the processes as he envisions them for a world of locally-produced consumer items. Some of the points he raises are quite convincing … like so many other technologies, JOOM might arise from military needs, as
An aircraft carrier battle group used to set to sea with >20 million spare parts. Today they can operate with zero spare parts…all the parts they may need during their deployment are held in computer memory and are manufactured by 3D printers as needed.
Needless to say, this would be a very plausible and implementable program that would no doubt save billions of dollars … and once the systems have been developed in the military (and space program) context, it would a far simpler path to having neighborhood fabrication centers than starting from scratch with existing home/business machines.
I’m sorry that I missed his talk on the subject, as it sounds like it would have been an interesting addition/counterpoint to what I was exposed to a couple of weeks back at the 3D Printing show. While I suspect that his particular take on where this is going is a bit off (as one might expect it to be at this point) in the particulars, I anticipate that this is very close to what’s coming in its broad strokes.
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