While companies like HP try to market high-end desktop fabrication, a movement of grassroots makers, striving to democratize the promise of the technology, continues to innovate in open-source, build-it-yourself 3D printers. Today I am calling your attention to MakerBot, which, for about a tenth of the price of HP’s latest commercial 3D printer, can get you into this transitional phase toward molecular nanotechnology. I mention this, and some similar projects in my book, and will post some more links in the days to come.
I call this a transitional phase toward MNT because it is beginning to achieve some of the ultimate goals of MNT. Namely, innovators wishing to move from concept, to design, to product are beginning to be able to rapidly prototype, and in some cases produce at a limited scale, without the high cost production and distribution infrastructures of the past. Keeping costs low, and moving quickly from concept to market, without having to raise great amounts of capital, means in many cases also avoiding the pitfalls and costs of IP, which is superfluous as we develop new modes of conceiving the role and profitability of innovation. I argue that creativity is a service, and we often pay people for services without even the necessity of contract, because we value those services. This is how innovation will proceed in the future, quickly, peer-to-peer, and without all the lawyers.