The ability to digitise a three dimensional object into a data file, and then transform that file back into a physical material continues to fascinate and baffle me. The Google Glass and 3D Printing communities have been intrigued by a story that was released last week in which an object in a public place was '3D scanned' by google glass and then 3D printed.
The idea that by simply looking at something (through glass) may give us the ability to effortlessly and physically recreate objects certainly has some very serious implications upon not only specific fields of interest and industry, but also on how human's interact with and understand materiality. That objects no longer have to physically move through time in order to get from one place to another sounds like sci-fi fantasy - but it is quickly becoming more and more of a realisable and practical) reality.
Obviously, this kind of development is inevitably going to have a really important impact on the museum and heritage industries in particular - especially since Todd Blatt (the guy who did this last week) used a bust from Walters Art Museum as an example of recreating an artwork. Perhaps certain kinds of technology simply aren't compatible with traditional ideas and values of 'the artwork' - in which case, measures will have to be made either to conserve such ideas or eradicate them. An interesting balance.
Full story here via Shapeways.