Re: [rp-ml] Open source whatchamacallits

From: Steve Baker (
Date: Thu Aug 11 2005 - 10:24:12 EEST

Adrian Bowyer wrote:
> I agree with all that Steve says below, but with two very important
> caveats.
> First, all the scams that he describes companies using at the moment
> rely on the fact that the design of the hardware is controlled by those
> companies. That in turn relies on the fact that it costs millions of
> dollars to set up an X-box factory, or whatever. But if anyone can make
> an X-box as easily as they now burn a CD full of downloaded MP3s, then
> company control evaporates and the restrictive encryption mechanisms
> they use for market control become useless.
> Second, if the open-source fab machine can copy itself (which is what my
> group is working on), then again no company can control it. All you
> have to be able to do is ask your neighbour to make you a fab machine if
> his machine is idle tonight, and before you can say, "Geometric
> progression," the things are all over the world.

That's certainly true...but it depends on something like the RepRap
project actually coming to fruition. The last thing a commercial
fab machine manufacturer would want would be to have people using it
to replicate itself!

> Incidentally, one interesting area in all this that hasn't, I don't
> think, been addressed is pharmaceuticals. If one's home-fab machine
> allowed one to make a microfluidic chemistry set - which ought to be
> reasonably straightforward - then what's to stop patients making 50mg a
> day (take after meals) of Roche's latest billion-dollar patented heart
> drug?

So the crack houses and meth labs will be the 'killer app' for these
machines?!? Eeeek!

> Remember that patent law allows individuals to make something
> that's patented for their own private use...

I didn't know that...are you *sure* that's true - I don't see any
mention of this exception on any of the Patent Law FAQ's I've looked

-------------------------- Steve Baker -------------------------
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