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Fabricating futures and the movement of objects

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2013
Issue number3
Number of pages28
Pages (from-to)388-405
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date29/11/12
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper assesses possible futures concerning so-called 3D printing in relation to socio-technical systems and consumption and production. Drawing on an Economic and Social Research Council funded project, the paper details the results of research exploring possible futures of the manufacturing industry and impacts upon the transport of objects. Such ‘printing’, or ‘personal fabrication’, could permit many objects to be produced near to or even by consumers themselves on just-in-time ‘printing’ machines. Widely known about in engineering and design, the impacts of these technologies on social practices and transport have yet to be much examined by social science. These technologies may become as ubiquitous as networked computers, with consequences just as significant. The paper reports on this recent research that seeks to understand some economic, social and environmental implications of what may be a major new socio-technical system currently in the making and which might have major consequences for the trajectory of the twenty-first century.