The information surrounding the production of a typical product tends to be quite guarded: plans and techniques are protected by patent and “owned” as the intellectual property of a single company or manufacturer. The extent to which this information is made publicly accessible is determined by the company itself: if a product is no longer supported by its manufacturer, then the formal information surrounding it’s production, use, and repair will likely disappear.
Cloning Objects presents a scenario in which a collection of products are each embedded with all of the information needed for their own reproduction (or repair, or modification). Rather than relying on an external network, each object contains a stand-alone mobile hot-spot hosting digital information.
Connecting to this hotspot with a mobile-app allows a user to “scan” the object, revealing the digital 3D-definition of various components, files for reproduction with digital fabrication tools, as well as information and specifications about the contained electronic components, and any software used to control the object.
Distributing this information within the objects allows them to be reproduced and distributed without a structured, formal network. The objects and their components are made accessible on an individual level, and users are free to share, modify, and redistribute them: “A bit-torrent of things”.
Cloning objects is currently being developed in collaboration with Leonardo Amico, Tilen Sepič, and Thibault Brevet. It is an extension of the Hacking Households project originally presented at BIO 50.
Image: work in progress: the component blocks of a clone-able radio.