The preparation and research that went into my next post led to my writing the previous one --”3-D Printing After #SOTU”, which was about some possibilitites and challenges in 3-D printing and its applications. Thinking through these, I think we have a dual imperative: engaging a kind of civic sensibility about practical design and manufacturing, AND engaging a design sensibility in civic action and participation. What I mean to say is, engineers and computer scientist should be better versed in social theory and civic participation, while by the same token civil activists and social theorists should be better versed in computer coding and industrial design.
The next post will feature an interview with Bre Pettis, co-founder of MakerBot Industries and of ThingiVerse. Mr. Pettis is one of the best known figures in 3-D printing, if not the best known in home 3-D printing. He is a pioneer in the “maker movement”, and saw MakerBot through the Cupcake CNC, the Thing-O-Matic, the Replicator, and now the Replicator 2. He is also one of the founders of NYC Resistor, a hacker-collective in Brooklyn that emphasizes collaborative learning, making, and sharing. He was a TED2012 Fellow, where he argued for the social value of 3-D printing, and emphasized the imperative for a collaborative approach to design.
What I hope to learn from Mr. Pettis is not only hard facts about 3-D printing which he might know because he is an authority in the field. I hope really to have a discussion, whereby Mr. Pettis might help illuminate some of the more nuanced issues in 3-D printing, such as the place of intellectual property, as well as give suggestions for what we might be able to do to get more civic value out of 3-D printing and digital design.