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Monday, January 13, 2003

Q: How Many Idea Guys Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?
A: An entire team of researchers at Berkeley
Inkjet technology has progressed so far that it now allows us to actually "print" three-dimensional electronic devices that actually WORK.

You may be familiar with the device that allows three-dimensional models to be printed layer-by-layer using polymers -- this has been available for about a year. It's a prototyping machine that allows product designers to save hours, even DAYS of time in developing models of new products.

A new device by Berkeley's team, lead by John Canny, takes the next great leap forward and could eventually lead to bypassing the modeling stage completely -- allowing designers to created working prototypes on-the-fly! One of the products Canny's team says it can create are working lightbulbs, essentially changing (hence my headline) the way we change lightbulbs forever. Once an old bulb burns out, you could just run to your printer and create a new one -- no worries about running out of bulbs and being left in the dark (of course you could run out of the ink need to produce the bulb... but that's another problem.)

No, this technology isn't going to be available for casual use inside our homes for many years, but it's exciting to think where this technology could eventually lead. My brain keeps going the Star Trek route. Will I be able to walk up to a machine and ask it for a cup of "Earl Grey. Hot." and have the an inkjet printer use organic-based sprays to produce my order upon request?

How will this change ordering at fast food drive-thrus? Will they FINALLY get our order right? Will we even NEED to go to the drive thru? Could we license recipe/spray combinations to have Big Macs printed on our home system? Perhaps buy the latest DVD player via spray/program download?

This could be the ultimate in an instant delivery... Cool!
Read the article here.


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