Digital Manufacturing Open Systems Standard (DMOSS) v1.1


This webpage discusses the design and implementation of a system to pulverize bulk material into nano-particles, use Micro-Reactors to purify those particles into “voxels” or 3nk, transport them over a digital matter network (matter-net), and use 3D Printers to construct them into useable products.

Keywords:  3D Printing, Micro-Reactors, Voxels, 3nk, Replicator, Digital Matter Net, Additive Manufacturing, Nanotechnology.


Looking Forward

The Matter-Net

  •  Other Possibilities
  •  Potential Abuses
  •  Matter-Net 2.0
  •  Matter-Net 3.0

Back To the Present

  •  Unfulfilled Promises
  •  Crossing The Digital Divide
  •  The Need For Standards
  •  Borrowing From the Internet

Working With Voxels (3nk)

Creating Voxels (3nk)

  • Extraction
  •  Disintegration
  •  Digitization

Manipulating Voxels (3nk)

  •  Storage
  •  Transport
  •  Activation

Streaming Voxels (3nk)

  •  Grouping
  •  Dividing
  •  Propelling
  •  Holding
  •  Inserting
  •  Extracting

Managing the Voxel (3nk) Stream

  •  Vox-Modem
  •  Vox-Router
  •  Vox-Pump
  •  Vox-Captor

Looking Forward

The Digital Matter-Net

Digital Manufacturing is not a new idea, but one that has captured the imagination of science fiction lovers for many years.  It has made appearances in The Fly, The 5th Element, even Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.  However, it was popularized by the television series StarTrek: The Next Generation when they introduced the “replicator”.  The concept is simple, break matter down into tiny pieces, transport those pieces across space, and assemble them into a finished product.

Imagine ordering a product over the internet.  You finish customizing your item, and complete the purchase.  The raw material for your product is dug out of the ground or reclaimed from a land-fill.  It is then “digitized”, or transformed into nano-particles, and sent to a manufacturer.  Your product is then constructed bit-by-bit in a 3D Printer.  Within a few hours it arrives at your door.

This amazing process may sound like Science Fiction, but it is in fact possible to do with today’s technology.  Thanks to advances in materials and chemistry, we now have MICRO-REACTORS…super miniaturized chemical plants…that process chemicals like computers process data.  These can be used to create nano-particle inks (voxels, or 3nk) that we can use in 3D Printers…which are already being used to manufacture all kinds of items.   The only thing that remains is to create a NETWORK to connect these two technologies.

The Digital Matter Net is high-speed network of microscopic channels (capillaries), pumps, and valves that rout tiny capsules (ferries) of voxels to their destination.  It works very much like the internet, transporting digitized matter between micro-reactors and printers…transforming raw materials into finished products within hours.  There is no limit to what can be made using this process.

Other Possibilities

In addition to manufacturing new products, the same process can be run in reverse for recycling.  Lets say you get tired of your product and throw it away.  It goes to a reclamation center where it is ground up into nano-particles, re-digitized, and then stored for future use.

Because we are breaking matter down, first into raw nano-particles, and then into pure elements, we can also use the same technology to clean up the environment. Garbage and other wastes can be turned into nano-particles and digitized just as easily as rocks and other raw materials.  Anything that can be broken down and digitized can be used to manufacture products.

A third possibility is to use the technology to create active chemicals, including medicines.  Due to security concerns, these should not be transmitted directly over the matter net.  However, the raw materials can be sent as stable chemicals, run through a second digitzation process, and reconstituted at the receiving end.  The active chemicals can then be injected into capsules, suspended in liquid, or packed into pills for consumption.

Finally, the same processes used to create furniture, cars, and medicine might also be made to produce food.  Sugars, starches, fats, and proteins could be generated in a digitizer as easily as metals or plastics.  They could then be put into a 3D printer and turned into edible constructions.

Potential Abuses

As with any technology, we need to guard against potential misuse. If provided the proper raw materials, a digitizer and 3D printer can be used to manufacture almost anything.  This includes toxic chemicals, illegal drugs, explosives, and guns.

We also need to consider the potential for hackers to create malware that causes a digitizer to malfunction and harm its user.  They might also hack into the matter-net controls, causing jams, or sending materials to the wrong location.  In addition, 3D Printers could be hacked and forced to order expensive or illegal materials, produce obscene, defective, or dangerous products, or fail to work at all.

Finally, this equipment can take digital piracy to a whole new level.  Thieves could scan in any object, analyze it on a nano-scale, and then re-create it on a 3D printer.  Then they could upload the plans to the internet for anyone to copy.

The Digital Matter-net v2.0

As impressive as this technology may seem, a yet more powerful technology looms on the horizon.  While Matter-Net v1.0 operates with nano-particles, Version 2.0 will break matter down into individual ATOMS or molecules which can then be energized and fired along a magnetic channel at nearly the speed of light.

While Matter-Net v1.0 allows products to be digitally manufactured from raw materials within hours, Version 2.0 will create the same products in minutes or seconds.  It will also allow us to create entirely new classes of products, precision engineered on a molecular level.

Matter-Net v2.0 will also allow us to do something that version 1.0 cannot…create living organisms.  living things are made of cells, which in turn are made of complex nano-machines.  These machines are too small for version 1.0 to create, but are perfect for 2.0 because they are nothing more than complex arrangements of atoms.  It will also allow us to create tiny machines that can repair the body from the inside out.

While this technology allows us to clone organs, repair the body, and cure illness, it also introduces new threats.  Matter-Net 2.0 will allow us to create deadly diseases like viruses and bacteria, or make poisonous organisms that bite, spray, or sting.  It can also allow us to create tiny, self-replicating, destructive robots called dis-assembers.

In spite of these dangers, the technology will allow us to enter into an age of virtually limitless wealth unlike any the world has never seen.  At the atomic level, matter is abundant, and Matter-Net 2.0 allows us to get it all.

The Digital Matter-Net v3.0 (aka Ener-Net)

The final development in the evolution of the Matter-Net is to convert matter into energy, and then into whatever form we desire.  This is the transporter / replicator technology portrayed in StarTrek.  It has several advantages over Matter-Net v2.0.

First, because we are converting matter to energy, we can use whatever happens to be available and transform it into whatever we need.  Suddenly there are no scarce resources, and our only limitation is how much matter we have available for conversion.

Second, unlike matter-streams, we can transport energy wirelessly across space, reducing or eliminating the need for transport chaannels. This energy can be used to power system equipment, and it can also be patterned to transmit the instructions for assembly.

Finally, this technology would allow us to take advantage of resources on other planets in our solar system.  We could extract matter from its surface, and then beam it to earth or to a space station.  There is virtually no limit to what we could create with this technology.

Back To The Present

Unfulfilled Promises

Over the past 30 years, starting in the 1970’s, we have seen the development of the Digital Economy.  Computers and the internet promised to upend the old rules of econmy and create a world of abundance.  And indeed, when it comes to information they have.

Today, a palm-sized computer can easily hold up to 100 Gigabytes of information.  That is the equivalent of more than a month of continuous music, or a week of high-definition video.  Destop machines can hold ten to 100 times that amount, and servers can hold more information than a human being can absorb in a lifetime.

Powerful networks allow this information to be transferred around the world at breathtaking speeds.  A standard consumer connection has transfer rates of between 1 and 15 Mega-bits per second, allowing them to download an entire movie in a matter of minutes.  High-speed connections run up to 100 Mega-bits per second, allowing a person to download a day of movies in the same amount of time.  And commercial-grade fiber-optics can transfer data at Giga-bit and even TERA-BIT speeds, which would allow a person to download more material in a day than they could consume in their entire lifetime.

However, the real-world economy has remained stubbornly fixed in scarcity.  Although books and movies can be reproduced millions of times and transmitted around the world, practically for free, cars, houses, and even basic food remain as expensive as ever.  We cannot download a car or email a big-screen TV…at least not today.

Crossing The Digital Divide

3D Printing, or Additive Manufacturing, promises to bridge the gap between the physical and digital economies.  This process allows a machine to produce a physical object from a digital design.  However, to truly achieve digital manufacturing, there are several parts that are yet missing.

The first piece of the puzzle is to create a generic Micro-Reactor Chemical Plant to convert bulk materials into standardized nano-particle (voxel) inks, or “3nk” (pronounced “thrink”, that can then be used in a 3D Printer.  This plant should take any material…rocks, dirt, garbage, or even industrial waste…turn it into nano-particles, and digitize them.

Digitization involves using microscopic processes to  analyze, sort, and purify those individual nano-particles, chemically separating them into useful compounds.  Finally these compounds are to be collected and stored for use as “3nk” in a printer.

The next piece piece of the puzzle is to create a network of high-speed transport channels, similar to the internet, to move “voxels” or “3nk” over long distances. There also needs to be a method to “packetize” 3nk so that it can be addressed and routed in the same way information is directed on the internet. This “Matter-net” would allow objects to be transferred bit-by-bit, and then constructed just like a digital file.

The Need For Standards

Like computers and the internet, digital manufacturing and the matter-net need a set of open standards and protocols to guide its development.  Standardization makes it easier for developers to create complex systems without knowing the underlying infrastructure.  For example a person can send an email without knowing about how computer memory works, or understanding the intricacies of TCP/IP.  It can run quietly in the background while people focus on living their lives.

Borrowing From the Internet

There is a great deal we can borrow from the standards already in place, the first being a modified version of the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) Model.  Our version of the OSI model is as follows:

  1. Physical Layer:   Controls the properties of the 3D inks (3nks), ferries, and the equipment used to process them.
  2.  Matter Link Layer:  Controls how ferries are grouped together for transport across a local matter network.
  3.  Matter Network Layer:  Controls how ferries are grouped together for transport between matter networks.
  4.  Matter Transport Layer:  Controls the flow of matter and ensures reliable transfer between end users.
  5.  Session Layer:   Controls connections between devices, typically a printer and 3nk Server.
  6.  Presentation Layer:   Controls interactions by acting as a bridge between higher-level applications and the session layer
  7.  Application Layer:  Controls interactions between the end user and the underlying system through computer programs.

The matter-net and internet overlap because the internet can be used to send information that will direct hardware on where to send the matter stream, and to transfer fabrication instructions to the 3D Printer.  In other words, the matter-net uses the internet to do its job.

Working With Voxels (3nk)

The first step to creating the matter-net is to develop the physical systems for creating, manipulating, and streaming “3nk” particles, also known as “voxels”.  Unlike the internet, which uses naturally occuring electrical charges, matter-net particles are  man-made.  Therefore before we can create a network to stream voxels, we need to develop processes for creating and manipulating them.

I) Creating Voxels (3nk)

  1.  Extraction:  Collecting bulk material in its raw aggregate form
  2.  Disintegration:  Grinding raw bulk material into crude nano-scale particles.
  3.  Digitization:  Converting crude nano-scale particles into refined nano-scale particles that can be used as 3nk.

II) Manipulating Voxels (3nk)

  1.  Storage:  Voxels will often need to be kept for an extended period of time before they are used; similar to the hard-drive in a computer.
  2. Transport:  Voxels need to be moved between processing, storage, and printing; similar to the data bus and cables in a computer.
  3. Activation:  Voxels should be chemically neutral for safety reasons, but when necessary they can be processed into chemically active agents.

Once we know how to create and manipulate voxels, then we can work on developing systems for transporting them across large geographic distances.  Such a system would work much like the internet, but instead of transmitting “bits” of information, we will be sending “bits” of matter.  This matter is to be carried in some kind of transport or “ferry” that can be suspended and pumped at high-speed with precision through a microscopic channel.

As the “ferries” move through the channel, they need be kept in their proper order.  They also need to tracked and routed to their appropriate destinations.  The system needs to know where each set of ferries is at at all times as it travels from the source to its destination.  Because information flows much faster than matter, the internet can be used for this purpose.

III) Streaming Voxels (3nk)

  1. Grouping:  Voxels need to be organized into orderly strings that can be maintained over the course of transport.
  2. Dividing:  Voxel groups sometimes need to be broken up to improve transport efficiency.
  3. Propelling:  Voxels need an outside force to move them along the channel without affecting their order
  4. Holding: Voxels need to be held in a channel without affecting their order.
  5. Inserting: Voxels need to be injected into a matter stream without disturbing order.
  6. Extracting: Voxels need to be removed from a matter stream without disturbing order.

IV) Managing The Voxel (3nk) Stream

  1. Vox-Modem:  Connects a voxel device to the maatter-net; transmits and receives internet messages for routing purposes.  Similar to a computer modem
  2. Vox-Router: Acts as a switching station along the matter-net; manipulates the matter-stream to improve the efficiency of the tranfer.  Like a computer router.3) Vox-Pump: Mantains consistent fluid pressure within the system to keep the matter-stream moving steadily.  Similar to a repeater.
  3. Vox-Captor:  Removes matter from the stream and holds it for resending, return, recycling, or disposal if the connection between two voxel devices is disrupted.

In data-streams, losing a packet is no big deal because electron charges are super cheap.  A new data packet can be created and sent without much additional cost.  However, matter-streams are different because some forms of matter are rare and expensive.

For example, it would be unacceptable for a stream of gold or platinum nano-particles to get lost in transit.  Also, it would pose a security risk for nuclear materials to be routed to the wrong destination.

Most of the time the cost of lost particles would be minimal…because the amount of material is so small…but in cases like these, a failure could be very expensive.  Therefore strict protocols must be put in place to identify and handle lost voxels in an appropriate manner.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Digital Manufacturing Open Systems Standard (DMOSS) v1.0 (2012) « Digital Matter-Net
    Feb 19, 2013 @ 15:20:48

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