Living technology: Personal Fabricator

One of our concrete visions about living technology is the construction of a personal fabricator (PF)[1] as an analog to the personal computer (PC). To get an idea of what it might imply to have a PF at your tabletop in a generation or so, imagine an advanced computer controlled 3D printer, which is able to control micro-fabrication, in part through molecular self-assembly and/or potentially atomic level controls, in order to build macroscopic structures of arbitrary complexity and composition. The PC and the Internet technology have enabled the individual to create and share information. Living technology has the potential to give the individual access to the design, sharing, and production of complex objects in a simple and sustainable manner.[2] Again, the sustainable personal fabricator network is a vision and its implementation still relies on years of basic research and dedicated engineering at the interfaces between nanoscience, biotechnology, production technology, and information & communication technology. One of the grand scientific challenges is discussed in the figure below.

[1] Gershenfeld N., FAB: The coming revolution at your desktop, Basic Books, New York, 2005.

[2] SPLiT 2010, Sustainable Personal Fabricator Network, see http://www.ecltech.org/LTFlagship/. The SPLiT vision was developed and lead by Packard, N., McCaskill, J., and Rasmussen, S.