We’ve seen it all: configure your life style with Ikea, mass customization à la Nike ID, and pimp your car and mod your case. Apparently there is a drive for individualization in a mass confection society. Imagine for a second this drive would not be constrained to the decorative. Imagine customization could be functional and useful, and not only about taste. Imagine producing real world solution to real world problems would be within the reach of everyday people rather than reserved to an elite of designers and manufacturers. If Spotify has displaced radio and Google Maps the Falkplan of times past, what could digital technology applied as personal manufacturing do to everyday mainstream products like phones, tablets, vacuum cleaners?
It is not the fancy mods that count, but the countless useful modifications and customizations of today’s standard products that cannot cater for a diverse society of aging people, handicapped and plain weird who cannot or do not want to fit the 95th percentile consumer products are designed for.
Several companies from national telecoms to SMEs have been exposed to personal fabrication technologies at digital fabrication laboratories (FabLabs) and to principles of open design, open hardware, an distributed modular manufacturing. Some of them have been shocked by what they experienced, some of them have been inspired, some of them clueless.
Using case study material and original responses, this workshop aims at thinking ahead, creating roadmaps and future scenarios of how personal fabrication could become a logical extension to mass manufacturing.