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

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

by Neil Gershenfeld
     
 

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What if you could someday put the manufacturing power of an automobile plant on your desktop? 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 and industrial tools. Personal

Overview

What if you could someday put the manufacturing power of an automobile plant on your desktop? 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 and industrial tools. Personal fabricators are about to revolutionize the world just as personal computers did a generation ago, and Fab shows us how.

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786722044
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
07/31/2008
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
File size:
7 MB

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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