Think 3D printing is a fad? You might want to rethink that notion. This tech trend just keeps getting better and wowing us as it continues strong into 2013. And when the former Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine says that 3D printing will be “bigger than the web,” it’s probably something we should all be paying more attention to. From NASA printing shuttle parts to consumers printing clothing, accessories and other everyday items at home, there’s something to be said for this incredible technology that transmits digital images of physical objects to create tangible, useful products.
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A representative from 3D Systems, a global leader of 3D printing solutions, says that “3D printing will bridge the gap between the digital and physical world; the way we interact online and with video games — we will be able to customize and personalize the things we love. I think the first thing we will see is how the technology will spread from small businesses, to the kitchen counter and then the living room. The goal is that everyone from 8 to 80 won’t see this as sci-fi, but will make it a part of their daily lives.”
But can 3D printing change the world in which we know it? Here are three reasons why we think it will.
1.) It Could Dramatically Decrease Our Carbon Footprint
When it comes to manufacturing, transporting and importing goods, the carbon footprint and energy used around the world can be staggering in numbers. If more businesses decided to adopt 3D printing practices, carbon emissions would reduce substantially. Because 3D-printed products can be produced and assembled in just one process, hundreds, and even thousands of parts wouldn’t have to be shipped from dozens of global factories. More product design files could also be transmitted digitally and then printed on demand from anywhere in the world, alleviating the need to find and build space for inventories. This would leave ample room for much needed, environmentally-sound green space.
2.) It’s Already Providing Life-Changing Medical Advancements
A team of scientists and physicians at Cornell University have utilized 3D-printing technology and living cells to create ears for those who have lost their own due to accidents and cancer. These life-like ears have even helped children born with congenital deformities. And that’s not all. 3D printers have also been known to print human skulls, jaws for those who need jaw-replacement surgery and other artificial organs. This man is astounded by the medical uses that 3D printing already provides, believing it could change not only his daughter’s life, but also the lives of millions of people worldwide due to the technology’s future in organ-printing.
3.) It Will Help Developing Countries… Develop
Want to help third-world citizens who struggle with everyday, basic needs we typically take for granted? There’s a 3D printer for that. Think about it: If we’re already using more affordable 3D printers at home to create practical items like clothing, bowls and small appliances, this technology could come to the aid of those who live in developing countries even more. Larger 3D printers like the Gigabot, will be able to help poorer communities print household items like toilets, other large appliances and kitchenware. And these items can be produced at a much smaller cost, using recycled plastic to print.
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