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...and I wouldn't mind a Robotic Dish Rep Rap!

After reading about recent developments by MIT Media Lab's "Counter Intelligence" team, I couldn't help but jump on the Speculist's developing "Dear Santa..." internal blog wave.

I love to cook and hate to clean up afterward, so any research leading to kitchenware that can go from table to storage and back to table again without (human) washing and morph from plate to cup to bowl between uses is something I can really get behind.

One particularly interesting aspect of the research is its concern with the energy use embedded in artifacts we use everyday. This is a relatively novel analytic perspective, particularly in home economics, that should provide additional impetus for localized fabrication and recycling of human artifacts.


John Smart has noted that the first generation laundry-folding robots will probably be recalled when it's discovered that thay have a tendency to fold the family cat. So I think laundry that folds itself (like dishes that wash themselves) will be a step in the right direction.


I'm going out on a limb here with a prediction:

The first fab labs we'll see in the home will be dish / utensil related.

It's just too good of an idea, isn't it?

I wonder whether it would be more efficient to wash these dishes, usually, and recycle only when the dishes are worn out.

Prediction #2: hackers quickly get these dish fab labs to make other items.


The liability issue you raise is a good one. Perhaps these items will be accompanied at first by liability limiting EULAs ("DishMaker Version 0.9 release 15 beta is intended for developmental use only. No warranty of fitness for any particular purpose is expressed or implied.")

Eventually, vetting by trusted consumer products testing organizations might become the sought-after finishing touch prior to mass marketing. ("Dish Maker V 1.0 is safety certified by Underwriters' Labs, rated a "good buy" by Consumers Union, yadda, yadda.)


I think I'd bet against your first prediction and offer my own that the first fabs will be children's construction toys along the lines of Erector sets, Legos, and Mattel's Thingmaker.

One advance (after a built-in system to dis-incorporate grease from the base material) that I think would need to be made to the concept before it really catches on is a capacity for additive and subtractive form generation (gluing together and cutting apart pieces, respectively) to be added to the transformative (vacuum molding) process already presented.

As to the hackers getting ahold of this, my prediction is that certain members of the greater hacker community, those that work with physical, as well as software, hacks, (case-modders, for example) have already looked at the pictures in the Wired article and either made plans to build their own or are working on a variety of 'improved' models for their own nefarious purposes.

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