DIY Gone Wild

Looking at breakthrough ideas for 2007, Harvard Business Review tags nanotechnology:

Industrial or business-to-business markets are likely to embrace this technology first, given their quest to reduce costs throughout the value chain, which they could accomplish by eliminating several of its links. Already what are called synthesizers, assemblers, or automated fabricators have been developed to create items, such as prosthetics, using nanotechnology’s additive approach. In the next few decades, we may see the domestic, user-friendly successors to these machines—personal manufacturing units, or PMUs—become standard home appliances.

Consider this scenario: In preparing for a dinner party the following day, a couple decides to create a new set of dishes. They sit down at the console of the family PMU (essentially a keyboard, a display screen, and a manufacturing chamber containing the atoms to be assembled). Working with design software (the manufacturing blueprints), they input the instructions and watch as the atoms in the chamber are organized into plates, bowls, and cups. Since the number of atoms used to manufacture the dishes is the same as the number composing them, all the costly steps—extraction or collection of raw materials, transportation, transformation, waste disposal—that currently precede a product’s use or consumption are eliminated.

Harvard Business Review: Business In The Nanocosm

PMUs are a example of the transformation of engineering and manufacturing I’ve mentioned elsewhere. They are by definition meshverse devices.

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1 Comment »

  1. It’s fantastic stuff, and we believe that Ponoko’s the first company to offer a platform whereby creators, manufacturers and consumers can meet – and potentially co-create- through the awesome technologies available today. Ponoko’s looking at the very real future of offering anyone (from highly proficient designers/creators/inventors, to those who’ve just got a cool idea) the tools and contacts to give it a go, and potentially create long term revenue (or just create something cool for themselves that they’ve always wanted!). We are in closed beta testing (for those, like me a while back, that aren’t familiar with what closed beta is – this is testing the whole process with a variety of independent people to try and sort out any initial issues!) at the moment. And the results of this have been amazing. We had a launch night about a week ago with our independent designers offering 27 pieces ranging from bike lights, to tables, to chess sets and jewellery. Check out the blog and pics here. And Ponoko’s not just about furniture and jewellery, but anything! Personal design and manufacturing for ‘one’. And then, if others love it too (not just your Mum!) you’ll get that feedback and interest through the Ponoko customer database. So this offers you not just the option of making an amazing new product that many love and therefore earns you money; but also a place where you can create that ‘thing’ that you’ve personally always wanted. Hence ‘designing for one’. As said, we’re in closed beta at the moment, but in a couple of months will launch open beta for all prospective experienced and inexperience designers, inventors etc, to come on board and trial the Ponoko place for themselves. At present we are also only manufacturing in New Zealand, but this will branch out to worldwide production availability in a short time span. It’s just mindblowing to consider where this company will be in six months, a year, and then beyond. And then also mindblowing for all the designers/creators/inventors who will be a part of it! If this sounds like a bit of you. Sign up to be a part of the open beta testing that will happen in a couple of months Register Here!. Cheers, Nic, Ponoko.

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