I would normally advocate the technology advancement and say that you are just being paranoid, but I do see your point clearly. It's sad, really; so many excellent advancements are historically misused for the wrong purposes. I'm pretty sure, like you, that these will soon be in the spotlight of the six o'clock news.
Have you heard of the $100 Peachy Printer? See http://www.peachyprinter.com/ and watch the "How It Works" video (link at bottom left). This nifty design was crowd-funded via Kickstarter by Canadian inventor Rylan Grayston, whose team is on track to ship kits this summer. It uses your PC or laptop stereo sound card to direct a UV laser pointer in X and Y dimensions via mirrors. The microphone input counts water drops as they increment the Z axis by floating the liquid resin layer higher and higher under the print head.
Coupled with a digital camera and a precise turntable, it will also scan objects to digitize them in 3D. The print volume is only limited by the size of the liquid reservoirs and the required resolution. The team plans to print a canoe, as their ultimate demo milestone. Resins are being developed for the printer with varying rigidity, though there is not an easy way to print a single object with multiple resins or varying properties. The kit includes everything but the reservoirs and support structure, which can be built from parts obtained locally.
I contributed enough via Kickstarter to get the basic kit, and have already begun working on the the resevoirs and supports. I plan to print prototype parts for some of my own inventions.
The 360 perspective is really quite cool, so I hope you're right, 78RPM. Until now this has been sort of a specialized effect. Perhaps one day they will be as popular as Polaroid cameras once were. (Yes, I am dating myself!)
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.