[Newsletter] 3d-printing: Manufacturing Disruption

This blog post is the content of the Netopia Newsletter which was circulated today, November 12. To subscribe, please add your address in the box to the left.

Welcome to Netopia, where technology meets society.

The conventional story of technology and government is that regulators have difficulties keeping pace with the development. But the opposite is also true, government creates technology. The basic research for what is now the internet was done by the US military in the sixties, the world wide web was developed at CERN (paid for by EU member states) and much of the national infrastructure (=cables) is from public investment. This is also true of November’s main topic for Netopia: 3D printers. This year, the US launched a US$ 30 million initiative, the UK invests GBP 14,7 million this year, and Singapore no less than US$ 500 million over five years – to give just a few examples.

Personal 3D printing is on the threshold of a paradigm shift also because the first patents on the technology from the eighties now expire. As hardware prices fall and distribution increases, 3D printing technology promises democratised personal manufacturing. The flipside are policy challenges like trademark and patent rights, consumer protection and even gun control. Here is when the regular wisdom of government and technology come into play: how should regulators approach these issues?

Netopia invites to an event and report launch on 3d-printers tomorrow at 10.30
AM at the THON Hotel EU.