See It? Get It

Tim O’Reilly’s post on the convergence of advertising and ecommerce introduces a powerful idea in the mobile space: why should I click through a banner ad to a product?  If I want something, I should be able to purchase it or act on it as soon as it is presented to me.  He also introduced me to Siri, which enables this type of presentation for mobile phones so well it almost makes me want to get an iPhone (if only I were willing to spend all that time polishing the back).

Now imagine that you could take the Siri model into the physical space.  You’re having dinner at a friend’s house and you really like their cutlery.  However, you also value their friendship and so you don’t want to just slip a place setting in your pocket as you leave.  Instead, you take a picture of it, or rather you take a little video of it with your mobile phone.  From this picture you can create a 3D model, which you then have printed in stainless steel and waiting for you when you get home.

It sounds incredible, but all the pieces are available today.  What happens to the design of physical things in such a world?  Does it go the same way as music and text?


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