Originally posted by PinkFloyd
The Science Channel did a story on Personal Fabricators last night. The gist was rgar, with advances in nanotechnology, robotics and quantum mechanics (whatever all of those are), we will someday be able to "create" any thing that we want, from a meal to a suit of clothes to a computer to a copy of ourselves, in our homes. Kinda like the replecators in S ...[text shortened]... out a gallon of demoral? Or several thousand ingots of platinum? This sounds grrreat!!!
I assume you are talking about 3D printers.
There is lots of development going into 3D printers, that can essentially build up a 3-dimensional object. I think they are mostly built along the lines of inkjet printers but they print multiple layers of plastic to build the object instead of a single layer of ink.
You have to have the raw material, in a form that can be used by the printer. In order to print an ingot of platinum, you need to have the platinum first...
There are projects like the Clanking Replicator Project [http://3dreplicators.com/index.htm
] to build a printer that can print copies of itself.
They are very basic but yes, they could change society hugely if, to have the latest gadget, you just needed the plans, raw materials and some energy.