All i can say is WOW!
If you are familiar with the replicator in Star Trek, the replicator can materialize any object.
But they use the replicator strictly for food and beverage.
In a society where EVERYONE can replicate gold bars and any consumer item for that matter – a gold bar and the consumer items we carry become more of a burden of weight than a benefit to it’s owner.
How close are we to this ‘reality’?
Closer than you can imagine.
They’ve ‘printed’ (To the Trekkie: That’s replicated) a real life car in Columbus, Ohio!
A car-lover’s dream in shiny blue and white drew admiring glances from employees of Battelle Memorial Institute. It’s an engineering experiment that could point the way for cheaper family cars in the future.
The car is modeled on a Shelby Cobra, but it did not come from a factory. It was created at the Oak Ridge National Lab which is managed by Battelle.
“This car is intended as a technology demonstration,” said Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge.
While he said that the auto industry won’t start printing their own cars any time soon, he said they may use this technology in two ways.
The first involves prototypes.
Before car companies build a car, they first build a prototype out of clay. That process can take up to a year but this one did not.
“We did this whole thing in start to finish in six weeks. It took 24 hours to print the car itself – very, very fast, easy to make changes in the design. See how it works. See how it looks,” said Mason.
Engineers poured a 1,000 pounds of carbon fiber-infused plastic pellets into a 3-D printing machine. The plastic, he said, is like that of a child’s Lego brick. The printer swiftly produced parts and engineers assembled them. Then, they developed a special paint for the carbon-fiber frame and body.
Mason said this process also could be used for molds and tooling in the auto industry – saving months of time and millions of dollars – to create a stronger, lighter, mass-produced car of the future.
“So it improves fuel efficiency. So it will save money in terms of gas, or diesel fuel, or electricity, depending on the type of vehicle,” he said.
The car is electric and can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4 to 5 seconds.
“We designed it so that we can incorporate wireless charging, so you don’t have to plug it in to re-charge it,” he added.
He estimated that it also can travel up to 80 miles per hour. Mason said those numbers; the car’s sleek lines tempt people who see it, to want to take the car out for a spin. That worried the Vice-President’s body guards when he and the President came to see the car several weeks ago.
“The Secret Service made sure we’d ‘Biden-proofed’ the car because they were concerned he’d want to drive it,” he said with a laugh.
The car now will visit other locales, including a Ford plant, where engineers will study it to see if they can use this technology to create prototypes for their company.