I just ran into this wonderful tool that bridges the gap between toys and nanowares. It is a fully-functional lego-based MakerBot.
It looks like it would be a wonderful way to demonstrate the joy of home-fabrication and the DIY mentality, while enjoying a weekend of Legos with the (older) kids.
So why do tools and toys like this promise to make IP go the way of the Dodo? Simply: when we can send each other digital files of our new creations, build and improve on them, and fabricate them at home for virtually nothing, users will reject the notion that they need IP protection, and will refuse to pay. They are already realizing the virtuous cycle that derives from sharing, and the frictionless innovative improvements we can make in our everyday store of artifacts, and even that we can profit through selling pre-made versions of objects without IP (like Ardunio does),
even where the designs are freely available as open source.
Creativity is a service, and we can pay for it justly without a governmentally-sponsored monopoly requiring it. Now I’m going to start getting some Legos and when my daughter is old enough, we’re going to build something marvelous!