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Exploring the frontiers of digital fabrication

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Exploring the frontiers of digital fabrication

What if:

• Doctors could ‘print out’ an endless supply of organs for transplant?

• You could create objects from sand and sun?

• People could easily make guns in their own home?

All these things are happening now on an experimental scale.

With advances in technology and maker networks across the world, ordinary people are starting to use 3D printers and other modern means of invention. In New Zealand, Massey University’s new Fab Lab is spreading access to this technology beyond the handful of leading-edge companies and research institutions that have owned such equipment to date. But even as basic equipment becomes affordable, the frontiers of digital fabrication are expanding. The possibilities are both exciting and challenging.

On Monday August 27, the Fab8NZ public symposium in Wellington will give attendees the opportunity to hear from some of the world’s experts in digital fabrication of human organs, post-disaster buildings, self-replicating machines, essential items for refugee camps, scientific gadgets in outer space, and other topics.

Amongst the more than twenty speakers at the symposium:

• Dr Anthony Atala (Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, USA) will talk by live video link about growing new human cells, tissues and organs. [For a previous talk by Dr Atala: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120621-printing-a-human-kidney]

• Markus Kayser (MIT) will present his Solar Sinter project, involving solar-powered production of objects in the Sahara Desert. [For video of the project: http://vimeo.com/25401444]

• Michael Hopmeier (Unconventional Concepts Inc) and Benjamin Mako Hill (MIT/Harvard) will discuss the security implications of rapid prototyping.

The symposium is part of a week-long international digital fabrication conference and 8th annual meeting of the global Fab Lab network, being held at Massey in Wellington.

Date & Time: August 27, 8.45am to 5.30pm (Registration opens at 8am)

Venue: Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington

Registration: $175 adults / $50 students and unwaged.

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