CCN (Crazy Cal News) - Pasadena, CA - The dreams of Star Trek TNG are coming true. The replicator, which the New York Times writer, Saul Hansell wrongly calls a "transporter" (he obviously isn't a Star Trek fan) is being developed by several companies.
The companies are now working on a "printer" that will replicate 3-D objects out of nylon dust. They are used for testing part designs for cars, airplanes and other products before they are sent to manufacturing. They were once over $100,000 each, but such machines can now be had for $15,000.
They can replicate almost anything made of plastic. You might want a doll, a battery compartment cover that you lost, a guitar pick, or a blow-up doll. You can download a design off of the web and create the design in your own home with these beauties. You could go to Mattel.com and download a Barbie and "print it out."
Research in the field is stated toward developing materials of various properties that can be applied in tiny digital specifications. Cornell's 3-D printer, called Fab@Home, for instance, can move a syringe in three dimensions that can be filled with any substance. So far, it has built objects out of silicone, plaster, Cheez Whiz and Play-Doh.
A high school student, Noy Schaal, modified the design and added a heater so that he could "print" chocolate bars with his school's initials.
"I had the muchies real bad, and I wanted something to eat. I figured adding a heater would allow me to melt the chocolate in my mom's kitchen and make a candy bar out of it," said Schaal.
"High School kids come up with the best ideas," said the company spokesman, "so we exploit them to the fullest extent of the law."
A company that wants to be the first to deliver a 3-D printer for consumers is Desktop Factory, by IdeaLab, a technology research and development company. The company says that it will start selling its first printer for $4,995 this year.
The technology it has developed, that uses a halogen light bulb to melt nylon powder, will allow the price of the printers to fall to $1,000 in four years.
"What maroons! What suckers! We can build the things for only $300 in parts. We'll keep the price out of reach of the "average consumer" and sock it to the doctors, the lawyers, and the Indian chiefs first, then we'll gradually reduce the price over an artificially prolonged period until most consumers can afford them," said I.M. Greedy, a company spokesperson.
The companies dream is to be able to develop robots that can walk off the printer. They are already working on the SEXUMUP3000 and the GAYSEX0000.
"If we can create robots that can have sex with the computer user, it will give a whole new meaning to 'computer sex,'" said the spokesperson.