personal fabrification

personal fabrication

post about neil


following via Neil Gershenfeld:

cusp of personal fabrication means…

a new literacy/expression

in the developed world

but for the rest of the world, this might mean the tech revolution for them, not bringing tech to them, but letting them develop what they need, so a..

locally appropriate tech development

in the developing world


[or perhaps we find out what we are calling developed/developing is all wrong]


personal fabrication is the next development

students were showing killer app of personal fabrication is products for

a market of one person,

you don’t need this for what you can get in walmart,

you need this for what makes you unique…

you don’t need personal fabrication in the home to buy what you can buy because you can buy it, you need it for what makes you unique, just like personalization..

 together these two projects answer questions i hadn’t asked carefully, the class at mit shows:

1. the killer app for personal fabrication in the developed world is tech for a market of 1 – personal expression (a  new literacy) in technology that touches a passion unlike i’ve seen in tech in a very long time

ie: scream release, wrestle to show you’re alive, et al – again – like a new literacy – a new form of expression

2.  killer app for rest of planet is the instrumentation/fabrication divide – people locally developing solutions to local problems

ie: Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.  via

We’ve already had a digital revolution; we don’t need to keep having it.

The next big thing in computers will be literally outside the box, as we bring the programmability of the digital world to the rest of the world.

With the benefit of hindsight, there’s a tremendous historical parallel between the transition from mainframes to PCs and now from machine tools to personal fabrication.

By personal fabrication I mean not just making mechanical structures, but fully functioning systems including sensing, logic, actuation, and displays.


 i have strange days in washington, between world bank, to pentagon, to nsf, and they all want to talk about the same thing, because this breaks what they do..

… world bank wanting to close digital divide – rather than IT for the masses, the real story is IT development for the masses, rather than digital divide .. it’s the fabrication/instrumentation divide, which means of input/output in solving local/appropriate problems

… nsf trying to get people interested in science – rather – enable them to do science

….pentagon trying to improve defense via a better weapon to win a war  – rather tech that gives people something else to do, .. the generals got that.. but not clear what office in the pentagon is the office of preventive technology



rather than getting tools in people’s hands, that they may/may not need/want.. **provide them with the resources/means to…

make their own tools.

tools of conviviality rather than latest fad.. tools we need.

this has so many implications.. as noted with the pentagon, nsf, and the world bank..

huge to ed…

  1. we insist on standard 1-1 when many already have tool of choice in their pockets and/or they standard tool we provide isn’t the best tool for them (or for that day/project/et al), money spent on something many haven’t asked for, so now we don’t have means to provide what is needed to co-create/invent/make
  2. we insist on deciding what’s to be learned/asked/solved/made/created.. rather than letting individuals/communities choose their own local problems/whimsies/needs/expressions

imagining a c-app – as personal fabrication of us – designed/created by/for each individual – their augmented mind/heart/soul. to help them see/know themselves/others/the world better.

so then the sustainability comes…

…from us doing/being/makers rather than blinding consuming/accepting:


Daniel Suarez

Regina Dugan


maker movement



networked individuaism graphic
designing reality