FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop--From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication

Overview

What if you could someday put the manufacturing power of an automobile plant on your desktop? It may sound far-fetched-but then, thirty years ago, the notion of "personal computers" in every home sounded like science fiction.

According to Neil Gershenfeld, the renowned MIT scientist and inventor, the next big thing is personal fabrication -the ability to design and produce your own products, in your own home, with a machine that combines consumer electronics with industrial ...

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2005 Hardcover New jacket The coming revolution in digital fabrication will mean the reality of creating objects on your desktop, and emailing the plans for that same object ... across the world. This book shows examples of the sweeping changes that will be made to the world of creation, fabrication, and production. () What if you could someday put the manufacturing power of an automobile plant on your desktop? It may sound far-fetched-but then, thirty years ago, the notion of? personal computers All orders are shipped by. Read more Show Less

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Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop--from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication

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Overview

What if you could someday put the manufacturing power of an automobile plant on your desktop? It may sound far-fetched-but then, thirty years ago, the notion of "personal computers" in every home sounded like science fiction.

According to Neil Gershenfeld, the renowned MIT scientist and inventor, the next big thing is personal fabrication -the ability to design and produce your own products, in your own home, with a machine that combines consumer electronics with industrial tools. Personal fabricators (PF's) are about to revolutionize the world just as personal computers did a generation ago. PF's will bring the programmability of the digital world to the rest of the world, by being able to make almost anything-including new personal fabricators.

In FAB, Gershenfeld describes how personal fabrication is possible today, and how it is meeting local needs with locally developed solutions. He and his colleagues have created "fab labs" around the world, which, in his words, can be interpreted to mean "a lab for fabrication, or simply a fabulous laboratory." Using the machines in one of these labs, children in inner-city Boston have made saleable jewelry from scrap material. Villagers in India used their lab to develop devices for monitoring food safety and agricultural engine efficiency. Herders in the Lyngen Alps of northern Norway are developing wireless networks and animal tags so that their data can be as nomadic as their animals. And students at MIT have made everything from a defensive dress that protects its wearer's personal space to an alarm clock that must be wrestled into silence.

These experiments are the vanguard of a new science and a new era-an era of "post-digital literacy" in which we will be as familiar with digital fabrication as we are with the of information processing. In this groundbreaking book, the scientist pioneering the revolution in personal fabrication reveals exactly what is being done, and how. The technology of FAB will allow people to create the objects they desire, and the kind of world they want to live in.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms takes a captivating look at the future of invention, positing a world in which the home fabrication system is as ubiquitous as the home computer. The concept of personal fabrication can be a bit heady and difficult to grasp, so Gershenfeld turns to something more familiar. On Star Trek: The Next Generation, crew members frequently employ the replicator, a machine that puts together molecules to create whatever they want-Captain Picard's mug of tea, for example. These days, making just about anything right here on Earth is nearly that simple, the author tells us. To illustrate, he discusses the projects he's witnessed over the past seven years in "fab labs" (fabrication labs) around the world. These include a bag that collects and replays screams, a computer interface for parrots that can be controlled by a bird's beak, a personalized bike frame, a cow-powered generator, and on and on. Gershenfeld organizes his text around methods of creation: addition, subtraction, description, computation and more. Each section describes the tools on the market today that work using these basic principles, including laser cutters, injection molders, three-dimensional scanners and even LEGO "bricks" that incorporate microchips. Since the author is describing people and projects that actually exist, rather than a fantastical vision of a utopian someday, his central contention is mightily convincing. A couple of obvious limits to personal fabrication are, of course, the scale and price of tools on the market; most people don't have the space or money for their own waterjet cutter. Gershenfeld, however, makes a powerful, persuasive analogy to illustrate wherehe thinks personal fabrication is headed, comparing it to the paradigm-altering evolution of the mainframe computer into the PC. Accessible, inspiring and wonderfully human: sure to spark the imagination. Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465027453
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 4/12/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Gershenfeld is the Director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, and the former director of its famed Media Lab. The author of numerous technical publications, patents, and books, including When Things Start to Think, he has been featured in media such as the New York Times, The Economist, CNN, and PBS. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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