[extropy-chat] 3D printers, eink scanner wands, protein producers

Avatar Polymorph avatar at renegadeclothing.com.au
Thu Feb 12 23:51:38 UTC 2004

Would it be possible to combine 3-D printers with a materials assembler (and
also possibly printed circuits, which are being worked on by one of the eink
scientist founders, and flat batteries (some are 'paper' batteries))?
Different sized heads (choice of), different materials being exuded,
controlled printing environment (pressure, temperature)...

Technology Review from MIT Nov 2003 contains an article on 3D printers,
pointing out newest uses and cheapest machines...

also has the following brief article (with a photo of the device, which
looks like an elongated remote control)
Electronic paper, made of charge-sensitive "ink" particles embedded in a
thin plastic film, promises lightweight, flexible displays that consume
minimal battery power. But e-paper has typically required a layer of
electronics behind the film to turn the particles on and off, adding bulk
and cost. Now researchers at the palo alto research center have developed a
handheld device that can print information from a computer directly onto
e-paper; the device activates the ink particles electrostatically as it's
swiped across the paper's surface. Parc researchers plan to use the device
initially to print on large e-paper whiteboards. In the future, the device
could also be used to scan information from the whiteboard into a computer.
"the idea of a scanning wand in conjunction with electronic paper is a
really important step," says nicholas sheridon, electronic-paper pioneer and
research director at ann arbor, mi-based parc spinoff gyricon. Parc has
multiple patents pending on the technology.

Protein-based drugs are a fast-growing class of new medicines, but they cost
20 to 100 times more to make than conventional drugs. One reason is that
proteins can only be made by living cells, which are not very efficient
producers. Researchers at Stanford University believe they can cut costs by
doing away with the cells and instead exploiting the protein-making
machinery inside them. Chemical engineer Jim Swartz and his colleagues have
come up with a way of growing bacteria, busting them open, pulling out their
innards, and adding a soup of chemicals that mimics the inside of a cell.
Also tossed into the mix are amino acids (proteins' building blocks),
enzymes, and strands of dna that encode the protein to be churned out. With
no cells to keep alive, all those parameters can be fine-tuned for protein
production. Swartz says the method can boost protein production five- to
10-fold and cut up to 80 percent of the capital costs. The researchers
founded fundamental applied biology in san francisco, ca, to commercialize
the technique.

With regard to 'Cell-free Proteins' I wonder if this has any applications
for vegetarians who want to add to their diet without being involved in
animal killing?

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