New Slang : The Unfolding Grammar of Emergent Techs

I think maybe we just haven’t learned to walk yet.

We now have these things like laser-cutters, 3D printers (well, almost) and a rapidly advancing miscellany of tech wizardry, but we’ve been watching television for the last 40 years, and even if we hadn’t been – materials and techniques have their own traits that you don’t find out about until you play with the stuff. Materials have their own languages – and laser-cutting in a way, creates new types of materials. Acrylic that you cut with a laser is qualitatively different from acrylic you cut with a saw.

And that’s why I like these:



Not because they’re another hexapod variant, not because the instructions / plans etc are posted as part of the artefact, not because as an internet inhabitant, they’re not bound to any specific address but live in a number of different places

Although I like all of these things as well – I mainly like this thing because it details a quick easy way of making hinges using a carboard-plastic lasercut composite.

A new piece of DIY grammar in other words – a new little building block that other people can use elsewhere. I used to be paranoid about accidentally being transported back in time to the 13th century, and not being any… use… because although I’ve spent my life surrounded by all this technology, I don’t know how to make any of it. Well I think we’re moving into an era where we (kindof) know how to make things again. I have a feeling we may be moving into a state where we can do things for ourselves – because it takes less time to supply our own needs than it does to work in the old-economy, and our quality of life is better. Arduinos and Gardening.

We’re still not there yet with robotic micro-muscles… but hinges? That’s a little step forward I think. One tiny step for Man, one mighty leap for Antbotkind.

There’s this thing from Lady Ada as well :It’s still simple, but it’s more clever and complex than the bulk of the other laser-cut stuff, which is primarily ( to these jaundiced eyes) about making trendy shapes. I think there are more building blocks to come – that thing with the flying penguins for example, was an example of a set of simple techniques that could be applied elsewhere.

I think there are whole new languages that we need to learn for mass-fabrication to get underway. And when it does, it won’t be about making things we already have, it will be about making things we haven’t actually thought of yet… because we don’t learn the grammar until we play with the stuff.

To thine own materials be true, in other words.

1 Comment » for New Slang : The Unfolding Grammar of Emergent Techs
  1. Great observation. Amen.

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