The New York Times has a nice writeup on the ongoing growth of 3-D printers—fabricators that can take a three-dimensional model from a computer and literally create the object out of melted plastic or an assortment of other maleable substances:
“A milestone for us would be to print a robot that would get up and walk out of the printer,” Professor Lipson said. “Batteries included.”
While that milestone may be more than a few miles away, 3-D printers are already doing some amazing things. See this video below, for instance, of the sub-$3,000 open-source Fab@Home project's printer cranking out one of those rubber squeeze bulb things we all know and love out of liquid silicone. Teleportation can't be too far off... —John Mahoney
FYI: Check out our hot-off-the-presses Q&A with Fab@Home mastermind Hod Lipson here.