Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Fab

The young engineering lieutenant stepped back and beamed. "Ain't it great?" he asked, with the kind of enthusiasm only a twenty-something geek with the US Air Force budget to spend could have.

"Yeah, it looks great, Larry, but what exactly is it?" Dan asked, not looking very convinced. The jumble in front of them looked like a cross between a melting oven and high-tech milking machine. Larry the Lieutenant grabbed a 21-inch flatscreen display and started to unwrap it from the lean box.

"It's a 'fab'."

"A fab?"

"Yeah. We can build anything with it" Larry said, trying to sound modest, but failing spectacularly.

"Come on, that's just crap" Dan said.

"Well, almost anything. Anything you can model in 3D anyway. It's a three-dee printer: you just take a model and tell the fab to make it. You can put all sorts of material into it: plastic, paper, metal, even starch, if you wanna eat your creation", the young lieutenant explained, as he lifted the monitor on the table. "It's really cool", he added, stating the plainly obvious.

"So... What's it gonna do for me?" Dan asked, being now vaguely interested.

"Don't know yet. We'll see..." Larry said, and started to rummage through the shelves for a DVI cable. He was drifted away in his own safe, little world of nuts and bolts and wires and electrons and bits, and Dan knew better not to bother him. It would take ages to get an answer now anyway.

The fab stood in the corner, looking like an innocent giant. It's maw was empty, and the door was open, as if waiting to be fed.


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