We wrote about Fab Labs a few months ago -- the combination of 3D scanners, Linux computers, laser cutters, 3D milling equipment, etc., assembled by the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT for use in the developing world. It's one of the coolest and potentially one the most revolutionary projects going, as it could be the jumping-off point for the biggest developing world leapfrog ever. Now Bruce Sterling (a name mentioned on WorldChanging once or twice) writes about Fab Labs for the latest issue of Wired, doing what he does best: seeing the possibilities.
Now imagine a vast, rising tide of bastardized things, shoddier than the cheapest postwar products of Japan, coming from Congo, Myanmar, Fallujah - a global outbreak of Napster-fabbed mayhem. Fabbing would be the ultimate industry for the perennially unindustrialized; the consumer cornucopia for the antideveloping world; a mushroom patch of recycled decay that pops up whenever the World Trade Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, or US Patent and Trademark Office turns its back.