Friday, February 03, 2012

World of Creating

I've been thinking about people creating things.

The first thing I thought about was that 3D printers might not have a "killer app". They may become popular for the same reason Wikipedia is popular. You don't say "what are the things I can look up that make Wikipedia worthwhile", you say "this is interesting, I'll look it up!" It's a culture of looking things up.

3D printers may be the same way. Not "what can I make that makes this worthwhile", but "this is interesting, I'll make it!" A culture of making things.

After that, I wandered back into my love of augmented reality. With the advent of more and more tech to immerse people into digital realities, we are seeing augmented reality slooooowly unfurl. But there's no "killer app". "What awesome thing can you do in AR that makes it worth wearing clumsy glasses all the time?"

Well, maybe that's the wrong approach. Instead, we might think "this is interesting! I'll create it!"

Imagine a culture where everyone can create digital and real goods as easily as they look something up on Wikipedia.

Let's say you need to keep the sunshine off your kitchen counter's candy stock. Instead of building one out of coat hangers and paper, instead of buying one, you create one yourself.

How do you do that?

Well, you "mold" it with your hands, right there on the counter. Create a plane by squishing your hands together, then grab the edge and pull it forward to create a support, automatically mirrored to the other side. Paint it and dust it with colors. Then hit print.

In your basement, the plastic sun cover gets printed out in the next hour or so. You can go down and grab it yourself, or maybe there's a house robot that will grab it and put it where you initially sculpted it.

I give this not as an example of a killer app. I give this as an example of how you might do something day to day. In the same way that someone giving an example of looking up "soy" on Wikipedia is not giving you the "killer lookup" - they are just giving you an example of a world at your fingertips.

The ability to create and mold digital objects in real space has a huge number of potential applications, all of which are a little hard to see, in the same way it was hard to see that Wikipedia was going to be the incredible resource it is.

Can you imagine getting up each morning and finding your house's ceiling is a different sky each day, depending on where your friends are and what they are doing? Can you imagine a world where your RSS/social network feeds are embodied as entities in real space, ones you can wave away or grab if you want more? A world where if you're curious about water filters, you build a few and play with them? A world you can orchestrate?

A world where creating something is often easier than looking up existing versions?

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