Researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences are developing a technology that could lead to a real-life Star Trek replicator. They have demonstrated that it is possible to manufacture an array of identical atomic nanostructures in controlled shapes and sizes.
In their atom pinhole camera, the atoms act like photons in an optical pinhole camera, but instead of light travelling through a lens, it travels through a pinhole on a mask and creates a high-res inverted image on a silicon substrate. This camera is capable of resizing nanostructures down to 30 nm—10,000 times smaller than the original. So, a camera with say 10 million pinholes could produce large numbers of identical (or diverse) nanostructures simultaneously.
It all sounds very promising, but the real question is will I be getting instant food, clothing and gadgets in my lifetime? Maybe—but chances are the "gadgets" will be a Rascal and the "clothing" will be Depends. [Physorg via KurzweilAI]