Latest By

Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Space Tech
Virtual Person

"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

  Send a copy of a three-dimensional object to a distant place.  

If you think that this sounds unlikely, you should understand that something like this already exists, and was in use for at least a few years before being described in the novel. It's called stereolithography, and it is used to create a three-dimensional plastic model from a three-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) drawing. All you need is your CAD model and

  • A tank full of liquid photopolymer
  • a perforated platform in the tank (which moves up and down)
  • an ultraviolet laser (which solidifies the photopolymer at particular points)
  • and a computer that drives the laser and the platform.
Sound expensive? Read on.


"Everything the name implies," says Klaus, "and considerably less."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"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-"

From All Tomorrow's Parties, by William Gibson.
Published by Putnam in 1999
Additional resources -

Stereolithography (or a nanofax machine) is not likely to show up at your local convenience store anytime soon. The machines cost about $250,000 and the polymer is about $800 per gallon.

Keep in mind, of course, that computers no more powerful than a $5 calculator once cost millions of dollars, and random access memory (RAM) that I once paid $600 for now costs one-half of one cent.

The commentary for dustmice discusses a very small robot that is partly fabricated using stereolithography.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from All Tomorrow's Parties
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to All Tomorrow's Parties
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

Nanofax-related news articles:
  - Desktop Manufacturing - 3D 'Printouts'
  - Mcor Matrix 3D Paper Printer
  - Zprinter 350 Full-Color 3D Printer
  - MGX 3D Printed Goods Almost Has it
  - Artisanal 3D Printing By Martha Stewart

Articles related to Manufacturing
LM3D Swim First 3D-Printed Production Car
MultiFab 10-Material 3D Printer
Ekso Works Industrial Exoskeleton
3D Printing 'Terminator T-1000-Style'

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.





Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.





More News

ANNABELL AI Can Learn English From Scratch
'...Could understand not only classic programming but also Loglan and English..."

Tesla Suit Gives Haptic Hugs
'Then a pressure on the lips...'

Surgically Implantable Artificial Kidney Starts Testing
'George Walt... proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'

Self-Filling Water Bottle Is Beetle-Based
'That moisture trickles down...'

Senate Passes Space Mining Legislation
'The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite...'

Microsoft's Surface Book Is Part Clipboard
'Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications...'

Police Use Predictive Maps ala 'Minority Report' Routinely
'...the data-receptors, and the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Tesla Autopilot Road Trip 2995 Miles, 57 Hours
'The beautiful old car cruised ... under the guidance of its automatic controls...'

The 'Marching Mountains' Of Pluto
Calling Captain Future!

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.