I’ve long thought that it would be great to have a manufacturing machine that could take basic raw materials and some downloaded information to assemble them into a finished product. There’s actually a name for this concept. It’s called a Santa Clause machine. I could imagine a machine that took in recycled aluminum, possibly empty beer cans, and produced car parts like the frame, body, wheels, and engine. After downloading the information, the rate at which you could produce a car would only be limited by your rate of beer consumption (or you could collect cans from along side the road to speed things up, of course). In reality, the machines needed to manufacture any product today are highly specialized and would not lend themselves to putting together products atom-by-atom.

Dang. Cause I totally wanted one of these machines.