Throw Your Dirty Dishes Away; You'll Just Make New Ones At Dinner

from the innovation-in-the-kitchen dept

We keep hearing about how 3D printers for rapid prototyping are getting closer and closer to going mainstream — but they’re still not there yet. While they’re used in plenty of places, having them in more common usage could lead to quite a revolution in how people view the things that they own. Take, for example, some research being done to create recyclable dishes. The idea is that you have some raw material wafers in a machine, and you punch in what type and how many dishes you need (four place settings, please), and it makes the proper dishes on the spot. After you’re done, you put them back into the machine and it deconstructs them back to the raw materials, which can be used again for the next meal. In the process it also cleans the material. It’s not there yet (it can’t get out grease and it hasn’t figured out how to trim the excess material from smaller items like cups), but it does give one simple example of where all of this could eventually go. Not that recyclable dishes are in huge demand — but the concept of using some kind of rapid construction machine to build tangible goods on demand has plenty of potential.

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Comments on “Throw Your Dirty Dishes Away; You'll Just Make New Ones At Dinner”

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Bill says:

Re: Re: More energy?

Cleaning, I can understand. Even without a dishwasher, washing dishes takes quite a bit of energy. Not only the energy used in heating the water, but the energy used in purifying, testing and pumping it to you. Stacking and putting away however, taking into account the energy to manufacture, pack, ship and stock the product, for you to go to the store and locate, carry and return home with the productand and for waste disposal/recycling of the packing material, I’m sure uses much less energy than purchasing a new set every ten years. Of course, with the current state of the average American, and the amount of energy needed to move him/her around, here that ten years could probably drop down to six or seven. If this machine can produce a dish using the same amount of energy as a dishwasher today uses to clean one, it could conserve energy in the long run by not requiring all the above mentioned processes.

eeyore says:

No Subject Given

Reminds me of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” where they used the replicator to not only create a cup of tea, but the teacup as well. I often wondered about the energy efficiency of creating a teacup out of raw energy and someone posited that exact question to our physics professor one time. So he walked us through the calculations and basically it would take something like the entire power output of the United States for a couple of days to make one teacup or something like that (been a few years). At any rate, that warp core must be super energy efficient!

Newob says:

Instant replication is teleportation!

The usefulness of this concept is not in rebuilding your dishes instead of washing them. That would probably use more energy, though it might save time.

More useful is the ability to make dishes (or whatever) out of raw materials on the spot instead of making the dishes out of raw materials in a factory, trucking them out to retail stores, and taking them home from there.

In short, more entropy is generated by centralized construction and redistribution, than by distributed construction. But, cleaning probably generates more entropy than reconstruction.

Just imagine the handwringing that will go on when people can download their tools for free! And when organic substances can be downloaded too, you can be sure the food industry will try to sue you for sharing food!

Now if only I could send myself across the Internet instead of walking around. But, have you ever noticed that it takes a lot less time to carry disks around in your pocket than it does to send the same amount of information across the Internet? I wonder when the bandwidth of the Internet will exceed the bandwidth of feet.

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