Participatory Material Culture Environmental Scan.

Authors: Record, I.

This environmental scan provides a snapshot of desktop fabrication technologies in 2012. The report focuses on two streams of emerging technologies: (1) additive manufacturing, or “3D printing”, and (2) sensor/controller/actuator toolkits, or “control systems”. Both technologies have existed for decades, but have only recently attained “desktop” status in virtue of increasing public availability, falling capital and supply costs, and the wider availability of enabling technologies like easy-to-use programming languages. The intention is not to ignore well- established desktop prototypers like milling and sewing machines. Rather, the hope is that the attention surrounding emerging technologies will help to underline the opportunities that desktop prototyping affords. Moreover, because these technologies are still emerging, there is ample opportunity to intervene and shape their trajectories, for example to encourage the development of accessible tools. In this report we attend roughly to developments in the $100-$10000 range for 2012 equipment, $10000-$100000 for horizon equipment. Similarly, we attend to parts in the $1-$100 range for 2012 products, and $100-$1000 for future/planned products.


Record, I. (2013) Participatory Material Culture Environmental Scan. Semaphore Research Cluster. [environmental scan]

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