Being back in the Polity now, while reading lots of science articles on the internet, I’m finding that the Polity needs updating in detail. All here have doubtless read stuff about 3D printing of inert matter and even of cells, and this morning my first science article of the day was this over at Singularity Hub:
3D printing technology is hot and getting hotter. Whereas once 3D printers were limited to a few select materials, these days inputs include metal, plastic, glass, wood, and—human cells? Bet you didn’t see that coming. (Actually, if you’re a regular here, you probably did.) Bioprinting firm, Organovo, isn’t anywhere near 3D printing a hand or heart. But a recently announced partnership with 3D modeling software giant Autodesk (maker of AutoCAD) might speed things up a bit.
We first encountered Organovo in 2009. The firm introduced the NovoGen bioprinter in 2010—the first of its kind—and has since built ten more. At a cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and as yet only rudimentary capability, bioprinting technology is firmly in the developmental stages.
So, of course 3D printing was invented long before the Quiet War. It’s so common in the time of the Polity that it is hardly worth mentioning that it is precisely the 3D printing above that is used by cell-welders and bone-welders or, rather, I neglected to mention it in the previous books… And, of course, many maintenance robots use 3D printing to repair damaged ships but foolishly, being a 21st century viewer of these activities, I took what they were doing to be welding or some other similar activity, so am now working to correct that:
Here a tic-shaped printer-bot was slowly and meticulously blocking off the tunnel, the numerous jointed printing heads sprouting from its foreparts steadily depositing layers of some white crystalline substance round and round its interior. Trent was reminded of a paper wasp building its nest, and as he eyed those busy printing heads he wondered if they were capable of doing any damage. Perhaps it would be better just hit the thing now… He raised his particle cannon, at which point the robot abruptly retreated out of sight.
‘I’ll go first,’ he said.
Nothing dates quite so fast as science fiction…