Friday, January 27, 2012

Digital piracy goes 3D

Last weekend a friend and I were talking, over a few beers, about the possibility of being able to copy vinyl records by scanning the information in the grooves with a tracking laser and then recreating the vinyl disk using a 3D printer. We both felt that one day this would definitely be possible, but that probably the resolution of the 3D printers wasn't fine enough yet.
    Then, this week I came across an article on Engadget that showed that this had been done.




OK it's not exactly high-fidelity, but clearly this will improve to the state where the reproduction will be perfect. Also this week, in a not unrelated story, the infamous Pirate Bay website announced that it would be hosting physibles, which are digital plans for things that can be downloaded and used to assemble real, tangible objects using a 3D printer. Although 3D printing is still in its infancy we can only assume that it will become more popular as the price of the hardware drops. So soon there really is the possibility of digital piracy applying not just to media but real physical objects as well.