3D Printing: Changing the Face of Technology
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a thousand pictures.”
At some point in their lives, everyone has wanted to print out a 3D version of their favorite drawing or creation to see what it would look like in real life. Little did we all know that in just a few years, that dream would soon become reality.
Scientists and technological trend analysts tell us that 3D printers will leave our lives radically different in the next 100 years. These printers have thousands of applications, from solving problems in our day to day lives, to helping develop long-term international security measures.
3D printing’s purpose is meant to allow designers to create 3D structures and watch them come to life, but as the technological world advances, designers find themselves able to use materials other than paper to create their dreams in real life.
For example, economic experts predict that in the next 175 years, the manufacturing and agricultural industries will virtually be obsolete. With the 3D printer, we’ll be able to print our own supplies domestically, rather than having to depend on exports from other countries. Using cells and other types of food as printing materials, we’ll be able to revolutionize the agricultural industry, and save the environment at the same time by reducing the amount of water and other resources it takes to raise animals in the industry.
But 3D printing isn’t projected to just change industries, it will save lives. Doctors around the world are using living cells as printing materials and creating working organ structures with 3D printers, including outer ear structures, skin grafts, livers, and even replicas of more complex organs, like beating hearts. Scientists everywhere marvel at what 3D printing could hold for the future of the medical world, especially in cases of emergency organ transplants and better prosthetics.
Even with all of these seemingly amazing benefits of 3D printing, however, technology experts implore the public to consider the possible consequences that could occur with using such novel technology. Many are concerned with possible safety issues when using products of 3D printing. Especially in the agricultural industry, many experts worry about the body’s reaction to consuming products that have been quite literally assembled at the molecular level. However, it is safe to assume that these concerns will be tested before products created by any 3D printing technology is in widespread use.
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns with 3D printing is the amount of money needed to continue research and bring 3D printers into prevalent use, especially concerning medical usage of 3D printers. Fortunately, this problem seems to be resolvable. According to the Wohlers Report in 2014, the revenue in the 3D printing industry is expected to grow to $12.8 billion by 2018, and exceed $21 billion worldwide by 2020.
Considering the rate at which 3D printing technology is developing, the future for 3D printing looks bright, and so does ours.