Matter Compilers

In between working on my thesis I have been reading some really interesting posts on a blog from the EPSRC Ideas Factory on the “Software Control of Matter”. To me and many others this is an extremely interesting area of research. Its director is Professor Richard Jones FRS who has his own very interesting blog as well as a very good book out on the subject called “Soft Machines” which I have read and would highly recommend. The ideas factory is taking place this week and the blog poses some very interesting questions and the comments to the posts are well worth a read. I couldn’t resist posting a few of my thoughts on what one might do with a matter compiler. My own slant leads me to hope that there will be an open source version available rather than some DRM crippled machine that only makes what the vendor wants you to make/sells you. There are obviously dangers associated with that depending upon how powerful the matter compiler is. I was also reminded that a matter decompiler is very different to a matter compiler by a subsequent commenter - I guess I was just getting ahead of myself as he is obviously correct! I know I will be reading the blog entries and comments with great interest (even though I should probably be spending more time on my thesis). It also makes for an interesting new and open way for new research proposals and directions to be discussed by academic researchers. I for one think that this approach is great and would like to see more of it. Coincidentally I also read about an open desktop fabricator developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in the USA. This is a desktop fabricator you can build yourself, they have also developed software to control it and you can use several different materials to fabricate 3D objects at home. Not quite nano but still very interesting to see. They have set up a web site about the Fab@Home project that is well worth a visit.

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