Showing posts from August, 2008

Something From Nothing

I do not recall in which of the Superman movies it was, but one of the characters took a special pen, drew a butterfly on the floor and watched as it instantly came to life, took off and flew away. In Star trek one would simply instruct the computer to provide a cup of "Early Grey. Hot", and the beverage would instantly materialize for your drinking pleasure. I once saw an ingenious invention where the user would input a diagram or digital image of a mechanism into the machine and it would build a 3D representation of it using sand and glue. For example, you could feed the machine a diagram of a ball and socket. The machine would start whizzing away and build a working 3D model of it for you. Naturally, it took a really long time to produce such a thing, layer by layer. Also, the accuracy was not perfect and it was limited in its complexity. The 3D model was also not particularly sturdy, given the materials it was made from, but the idea that you can draw a two-dimensiona