Sci-Fi for the Tech Addict – Part 1 3D Printing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing

The ORDbot Quantum 3D printer (Bart Dring, Wikipedia)

I visited the Restart Project‘s Restart Party at Camden Town Shed for BBC Tech feature, and met some brilliant people who voluntarily fix whatever comes through the doors – be it broken printers, TVs, cameras or even stereo radio cassette players.

Talk that evening was of technology, the joy of fixing things & sci-fi. One of the electrical geniuses (genii?) was rather interested in 3D printing. And as I have read a lot of science fiction books, it seemed natural enough to recommend to Francis a reading list which I thought he’d find interesting.

It’s not the first time – a few years back I chaired the Science Museum’s FutureWorld event – people mentioned specific tech and I recommended books that complemented their area of interest. So I’m going to do the same thing – but online – I hope you like it.

Welcome to Science Fiction for the Tech Addict Part 1! I’m also going to add real life links too for those who want to know more about the technology itself.

PART 1 3D printing concepts: Science Fiction

Idoru – by William Gibson* : Cyberpunk espionage novel written in 1996 exploring what happens when the virtual world can mix with the real world. There’s elements of 3D printing here, but not in the way you’d think.

Makers – by Cory Doctorow* : 3D printing takes a more central role in this 2010 novel about a bunch of entrepreneurs who create a ride. The ride appears to take on a life of its own as more people become aware of it and interact with it. The book hits on very interesting points about how widespread 3D printing might affect society.

Altered Carbon – By Richard Morgan* : Written in 2002, this far-future ultra-violent detective/thriller’s concept has echoes of what society might be like if matter was entirely and completely replicable. Some might say it’s a bit of a stretch from 3D printing, but I reckon it’s a logical extension of the ability to create 3D objects.

*click ‘em if you like ‘em, these are Amazon Associate Links – if a link has a * by it, clicking might result in a very small payment – which therefore helps me have more time to write posts like this!

 

PART 2 3D printing in real life: Science Fact

Makerbot : all you need to start your own (pricy!) 3D printing workshop.

Shapeways : 3D printing service which also sells 3D patterns for other people to print out.

UK Hackspaces / Global Hackerspaces : Sociable member-run spaces where people tinker. Some have 3D printers to play with. I’ve visited both the London Hackspace and the Nottingham one so far – both are populated by wonderfully friendly people who have a lot of time for anyone who is interested in this sort of thing.

Maker Faire : fabulous carnivals filled with people making stuff. There’s a mini one in London’s Elephant and Castle next month where you can learn to design in 3D printing.

Of course there are so many more resources online as 3D printing becomes more and more commonplace.

If you have any requests for science fiction based on some of today’s tech ideas, let me know in the comments area and it would be a pleasure to dredge the old brain for something just right for you. Alternatively if you’ve read something that you think should go on the list, please tell me as I’m always looking for new books to read!

 

-LJ

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