The cellulose-based technology in Ardulum is not too terribly far from what we have on Earth today (the first book takes place in 2060). Biofilm computer screens have been around for a few years, even if not commercially available, and we are only about three years from cellulosic food printers.
In fact, we already have 3-D printers that use wood! Some photos below show how this is accomplished. Of course, we can’t use straight wood just yet, so this is more of a wood-plastic-composite 3-D printer, but it is a step in the right direction.
This is the outside of a 3-D wood-plastic-composite printer. The inside is pretty simple, and doesn’t look too different than other printers.
What is unique is the cartridge. Take a close look. That’s wood dust in there! Kind of puts the printers in the Markin conference room into perspective!
Of course, we’re not printing food yet. That plastic component is still tricky. But here is what a little toy looks like with wood mixed with the plastic.
I envisioned the printers in Ardulum to be much smaller–more of flat surface that built up without a box to contain it. Although in book two we get our first look at a ‘fast print’ perf shop, and there the printers are housed in larger, free-standing units where you can place your order and have it made there on the spot. Something to look forward to for book two, if you’re a tech geek like me!