3D Fax Machine based on Claytronics project for Mechanical engineering

Consider a hypothetical scenario in the near future, where a paleontologist is searching in a remote location for interesting fossil remains. Having found an interesting bone fragment, she records the site information, using GPS and local surveying instruments, and takes numerous digital photographs to record the context of the find. She then takes an impression of the fragment in clay or plaster to facilitate its later reproduction for wider study as well as display in   museums.

Given present technologies, the latency between discovery and access to fossil and object replicas will generally be measured in months. However, imagine in this future world, that the clay-like material used to take the impression is electronic in nature, comprised of a myriad of tiny modules which are capable of inter-module communication and computation. This intelligent clay measures its own shape and, by reflection, the shape of the embedded fossil fragment, and generates a digital representation of the fossil’s three-dimensional structure.

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