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June 15th, 2005
Physics genius plans to make 'Star Trek' replicator a reality
"This machine makes every man self-sufficient. It takes the stickum right out of society."
That's a quote from a 1958 science-fiction story, Business as Usual, During Alterations, by Ralph Williams. It's about a machine called a duplicator, which aliens drop off on Earth as a test for humans. Put anything on the duplicator's tray and the machine makes an exact copy.
Gershenfeld's ultimate goal is to invent home fabrication machines that will be as common as Hewlett-Packard ink-jet printers. They will be able to make anything: custom Barbie clothes, MP3 players, cow-shaped cream pitchers, Barry Bonds baseball cards from the 1980s when he looked skinny — you name it.
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