LIfe Imitates Art: Authentise vs Makers

Download Makers for Free (txt)
A recent Maker Pro Newsletter links to an article on MIT Technology Review about copy protection for 3-D printing. The whole thing smells a bit like a joke. The basic idea (which is broken) behind Authentise is to send gcode to a user's machine just-in-time, so that they never have a full model of the part they are printing. It sounds similar to the path the villian in Doctorow's Maker story does to monetize 3-D printing:
And there, in the pit of despair, at the bottom of his downward arc, Sammy was hit by a bolt of inspiration:
Put Disney into people's living rooms! Put printers into their homes that decorated a corner of their rooms with a replica of a different ride every day. You could put it on a coffee table, or scale it up to fill your basement rumpus-room. You could have a magic room that was a piece of the park, a souvenir that never let go of Disney, there in your home. The people who were willing to spend a fortune on printed skull finials would cream for this! It would be like actually living there, in the park. It would be Imagineering Eye for the Fan Guy.
He could think of a hundred ways to turn this into money. Give away the printers and sell subscriptions to the refresh. Sell the printers and give away the refreshes. Charge sponsors to modify the plans and target different product placements to different users. The possibilities were endless. Best of all, it would extend the reach of Disney Parks further than the stupid ride could ever go -- it would be there, on the coffee table, in the rumpus room, in your school gym or at your summer place.
He loved it. Loved it! He actually laughed aloud. What a *great* idea! Sure he was in trouble -- big trouble. But if he could get this thing going -- and it would go, *fast* -- then Hackelberg would get his back. The lawyer didn't give a shit if Sammy lived or died, but he would do anything to protect the company's interests.
Sure, no one from Imagineering had been willing to help him design new rides. They all had all the new ride design projects they could use. Audience research too. But this was new, *new new*, not old new, and new was always appealing to a certain kind of novelty junkie in Imagineering. He'd find help for this, and then he'd pull together a business-plan, and a timeline, and a critical path, and he'd start executing. He wanted a prototype out the door in a week. Christ, it couldn't be that hard -- those Wal-Mart ride assholes had published the full schematics for their toys already. He could just rip them off. Turnabout is fair play, after all.
This comparison to Netflix in that article is interesting,
Authentise’s approach is similar to the way Netflix sends viewers at home a stream of video frames only as their computer needs them to play a movie. Instructions that tell a 3-D printer about how to squirt out material are sent to it only as it needs them. Once the process is done, the instructions are instantly discarded, leaving a completed print but no full digital representation of its design.
But as a commenter points out, the analogy is not very good,
Quite copy real-time digital video, you've got hundreds of megabytes of uncompressed, unencrypted data per second to deal with, and even that's not impossible to capture. Capturing the actions of a 3D printer...a few stepper motors operating at audio frequencies, and extruder temperature? A piece of cake in comparison. cjameshuff2 comment

No comments:

Post a Comment