A swing vote on 3D printing

3D Printing
3D Printing

With shades of the BBC’s General Election Swingometer, but with a more visceral twist, the Design Museum is setting up a live vote machine to answer the question ‘should home 3D printing be regulated?’.

The question, which comes after developments such as the world’s first-ever 3D printed gun will be put to a global audience, who will be asked to vote using social media.

The votes will be fed into the Swing Vote machine, which has been designed by Pan Studios and will be installed in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre for the TEDxHousesofParliament conference on 14 June.

Comprising a 3D printer and a large pendulum, the machine will build a mystery object.

It will be charged by votes in favour of 3D printing, but for every vote it receives in favour of unregulated use, it will slow down.

3D Printing
The Pendulum of truth…

Votes will be collected through Twitter using the #futureishere hashtag.

At the end of the day the pendulum will be released. If the votes favour unregulated 3D printing, then the finished mystery object will be presented to the crowd.

If, however, more votes have come in in favour of regulation, then the potential energy in the pendulum will cause it to smash into the 3D printer’s stop button – and the object will never see the light of day…

The Swing Vote machine is being installed in advance of the Design Museum’s forthcoming exhibition The Future is Here, which will look at how sweeping changes in manufacturing are transforming the world.

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