Robbie the robot was probably the most iconic character and star in ‘The Forbidden Planet‘. The film, loosely based on The Tempest had Anne Francis playing a delightful Miranda, achieving cult status as Altaira. However, in 1956 it was the notion that Robbie the robot could instantly manufacture anything to order, clothes, machine parts, food and much more, which caught my imagination. Some fifty years later science fiction becomes reality.
3D Printing has brought the abilities of Robbie the robot within everyday reach. The concept isn’t new, but like so many concepts the ability to make it an easily reproduced and commercial reality, has been a problem – until now. Some shills are promoting 3D printing as the next big technological milestone and they may be right.
Explaining the Future.com has a long article on 3D printing: Imagine a future in which a device connected to a computer can print a solid object. A future in which we can have goods delivered to our desktops or high street shops over the Internet. And a future in which the everyday “atomization” of virtual objects into hard reality has turned the mass pre-production and stock-holding of a wide range of goods and spare parts into no more than an historical legacy.
The Printed World reports: Far-fetched as this may seem, many people are using three-dimensional printing technology to create remarkable things. These include medical implants, jewellery, football boots designed for individual feet, lampshades, racing-car parts, solid-state batteries and customised mobile phones.
So what about you and me, the domestic consumer? We will be able to 3D print our own majolica and fire it in the combo-microwave, create our own Tiffany lamp, or reproduce an alabaster Cipriani. Kitsch ‘R’ Us will supply the ‘jet cartridges’ and computer programmes, enabling us all to emulate Robbie the robot. What is put in the combo-microwaves will only be limited by its size and the ability of the 3D printer.
It also seems that 3D printing is being applied in the food industry. Insects Au Gratin looks for new ways of consuming insects. By combining entomophagy with 3D food printing technologies, the project encourages eaters to consider more sustainable ways of eating. Insects are all vegetable feeders, clean, palatable, wholesome, and decidedly more particular in their feeding than ourselves’. They are also tremendously efficient at converting vegetation into edible protein. 100 kg of feed produces 40 kg of crickets, but only 10 kg of beef.
A variety of proteins, starches, omega 3s etc, will enable foodstuffs to be prepared to match our lifestyle. Gastronomic menus will be downloaded directly to the 3D printer. For the true gastronome there will be specialist jet cartridge offerings of Escargot De Bourgogne, Grenouilles Provençale, bêche de mer, ceviche or fugu. Forget those pessimists and their Soylent Green crackers. Science has proved the Malthusian Theorists wrong in past, just yell “Jiminy Cricket“.
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