Fab at Home Open-Source 3D Printer Lets Users Make Anything

I just StumbledUpon an interesting article about a new type of printer that can make 3D objects. You can use various materials as input ranging from plastics to chocolate if you wanted. This device reminded me of the Matter Compiler in The Diamond Age which I reviewed recently. This is still a primitive technology, but I wonder if what Neal Stephenson envisioned might ever come true. Check out the original site to watch a brief video demonstration of the device.

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Real world Lightsabers coming soon!Real world Lightsabers coming soon!

A few years ago, the Science Channel aired an episode of SciFi Science, “How to Build a Lightsaber” hosted by theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku. He explained some theories that might be used and developed a rough design that should be “workable in our lifetimes.” Of course almost all of his episodes end up with that qualification. Last month it looks like there was a breakthrough in the hardest part of making a lightsaber work, getting the blade to stop at a certain point.

Although the most prominent uses for controlling the depth of laser cutting are surgical and clinical, Fraser said the team is “very excited about the potential industrial applications,” especially since compared to clinics it’s easier to get new technology into industries.

Unfortunately, the goal is to make the lasers useful surgery, not chopping off alien arms at cantinas.

Via  National Post

If you’d like to watch the episode I’m referring to, use this Google Search: How to build a light saber on Youtbue

Happy Birthday Isaac Asimov – plus predictions for 2014Happy Birthday Isaac Asimov – plus predictions for 2014

I just ran across an article on Isaac Asimov’s predictions for 2014 from 50 years ago. I was thinking of a blog post to start out the year, and this popped out as a good opportunity. As anyone that reads this blog should know, Isaac Asimov is my favorite writer. His birthday is unknown for certain, but he chose to celebrate it on January 2nd. More information here. Anyway, back in 1964 at The World’s Fair, he made a few predictions. Some of the more accurate ones are below describing video phones, Robots, vehicular robots (Google car?), “Wall Screens” (not quite yet but very close), and a eerily accurate population estimate.

“Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica.”

“Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.”

“Vehicles with ‘Robot-brains’ … can be set for particular destinations … that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver.”

“Wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible.”

“The world population will be 6,500,000,000 and the population of the United States will be 350,000,000.”

Some of the more comical misses are below:

“Mankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014.”

“The most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work!”

I also have a prediction for today, the birth of a friend’s baby that is now one week overdue. It would be awesome to share a birthday with Isaac Asimov, right?

For the complete list and link to the original article, click the links below.

Via Open Culture

New York Times

Robotic Exoskeleton to Enhance SoldiersRobotic Exoskeleton to Enhance Soldiers

I recently ran across this interesting video during one of my many sessions with StumbleUpon. The video via GeeksAreSexy (shown after the “more”) demonstrates a guy in a robotic exoskeleton performing a variety of tasks to demonstrate the strength of the device. This was a weird coincidence because I was in the process of reading Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. His Mobile Infantry armor was much more elaborate, but I’m always interested when things from science fiction start to become science fact. (more…)