Downloading files from the Internet is obviously nothing new, in this digital age. Video, audio, text and images can all be uploaded and downloaded as long as one is connected to the web. Putting a twist on this, The Pirate Bay (torrent and magnet link host) has put up a new category known as ‘Physibles’ which allows users to download and print 3D objects of their liking.
Pirate Bayer WinstonQ2038 explains here, that they believe physical objects are the next stage in downloading and copying. The word Physible is derived from this, meaning “Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical.”
What the user needs in order to make use of the files on offer is a 3D printer, so it may not be as easy as downloading an mp3 or a pdf. Other kinks would be of course, intellectual property infringement of the objects. The Pirate Bay shares files through bittorrent links instead of hosting the files directly, so that’s their workaround for this little problem.
In fact, sharing 3D objects for 3D printers is actually nothing new, with sites such as Shapeways that not only allows you to share your 3D designs, but also prints and ships them to you, for a price.
With 3D printers now printing anything from plastic, metals, styrofoam to even chocolate, possibilities for this new ‘downloadable’ seem endless.
One thing this makes me think of is the replicators used in Star Trek. Although our current technology isn’t quite there yet, it does give us some insight on how future technologies will evolve. I certainly wouldn’t mind being able to print objects from my computer, instead having items shipped to me.