Designer Tom Matten submitted a rather unusual design to 3D model repository Thingiverse the other week: a bong. According to the description:
Maker Bong puts the smoker back in charge. Maker Bong gives the individual the ability to create what ever type of bong they desire, weather it be a steamroller, Hookah, or normal bong. Also the Maker Bong's Chamber piece allows one to add ice water, giving the user the ability to create a double, triple, or however many chamber bong for an insanely smooth smoking experience."Enjoy getting Higher with Maker Bong"
Truly creative. But we're wondering what this means. We know that possession of "drug paraphernalia" is considered illegal in some jurisdictions. But would possession of The Design be considered illegal?
When we're in a world where we can (relatively) instantly produce any object ourselves, is it the actual object that counts or the design? We like to think that's the case for run-of-the-mill objects, since it's not the printing goop that's important; goop becomes commodity and the design rules.
Will our repositories be searched for the presence of "illegal objects"? Will repository operators ask submitters to delete suspected items for fear of the authorities? Will questionable content migrate from public repositories into private libraries run by secret cabals?
When any of those things happen, we'll know we've arrived.