Business next: When atoms become like bits

Check out Wired's story, "In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms are the New Bits," which highlights a key business and manufacturing macro-trend: Atoms are increasingly being manipulated as easily as information bits.

Applied to the competitive landscape, innovative ideas can take a more direct route from concept to manufacture. Whether that future happens or not remains, of course, to be seen, but with print-on-demand 3D objects increasingly common, the entrepreneur with a novel idea stands a better chance today than, say, Professor Bob Kerns, who futilely took on Detroit in his quest to manufacture the intermittent wiper blade in the movie, Flash of Genius. Wired :

Today, Kearns would do it differently. As before, he would have made the first prototype in his basement. But rather than building a factory, he would have had the electronics fabbed by one company and the enclosure made by another. He then would have paid a wiper manufacturer in China to create a custom assembly with these components. They would have shipped straight to his customers, the car companies, and the whole process would have happened in months, not years — too fast for big companies to beat him. No factory, no lawsuits, no madness. He could have fulfilled his dream of turning his invention into a company without tilting at windmills.

Related, can post-institutional methods first pioneered on the web match this emerging post-industrial landscape?