3D Printer Vending Machine Dispenses Dreams
UC Berkeley’s new Dreambox is a vending machine that downloads your design from the cloud - and then instantiates it for you.
(Dreambox 3D printer vending machine)
By connecting to a cloud-based computing system hosted within the machine, customers can upload their designs and set them in the cue for printing.
The renderings are processed, printed, and then (like any other vending machine) popped into a drawer for the customer to collect. Should the customer not be present, they can rest easy, knowing that their printed design is safe, as the storage drawers are locked until needed. Each customer is then given an unlock code, which frees their newly printed masterpiece.
I think that William Gibson gets partial credit for this one, since the Nanofax from his 1999 novel All Tomorrow's Parties is a kind of vending machine that can pull down any product and print it out for customers.
"Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance. Within certain rather large limitations, of course. A child's doll, placed in a Lucky Dragon Nanofax unit in London, will be reproduced in the Lucky Dragon Nanofax unit in New York-"
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