Front Design has developed a unique method of materializing freehand sketches. Strokes made in the air are recognized with motion-capture video technology and then digitized into a three-dimensional computer model. The digital files are then sent to a rapid-manufacturing machine that uses computer-controlled lasters to fabricate the objects in plastic, resulting in furniture that is a clear translation of drawing into object.
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As IdeaFestival observes, "When an action as simple as tracing an object in the air can result in a manufactured piece of furniture, the wall separating virtual and physical reality becomes a little less relevant." It proposes the term "performance manufacturing," though all manufacturing is a kind of performance, and often is more creative and inventive a process than we realize.
I've written for Samsung's DigitAll magazine about 3d printing and its potential for transforming the factory, and it seems to me that rapid prototyping, motion capture or object scanning, and 3d design tools-- which people encounter in games and virtual worlds like Second Life-- are going to make a powerful combination.