The Factory of the Future (Now) with Adrian Bowyer

ReprapatpoptechAdrian Bowyer demonstrating RepRap version 1.0 “Darwin” at Pop!Tech 2007. Photo by Medea Material, some rights reserved.

Adrian Bowyer presented RepRap, an erector set that will change the world, as part of the “Innovation from the Bottom Up” panel at Pop!Tech 2007. This open source, self-replicating rapid-prototyping machine uses a biodegradable material, polylactic acid, made from fermenting starch. This means you can use local resources to make and supply it, then compost the articles when you’re finished to fertilize crops for future batches of material.

This deeply subversive technology makes manufacturing more like agriculture and brings it to everyone. If widely adapted, it would lead to more great products but less need for factories, goods transport and fossil fuels. It might even make a dent in the entire concept of money. Version 1.0 “Darwin” can produce simple plastic products, but the next generation in development will be able to build electromechanical devices as well.

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