What's the Big Idea?
Up until about 2005, however, "this technology was mostly locked in very expensive machines" costing upwards of $50,000 and "that was one of the reasons why most people weren't aware of it," Lipson tells us. That all changed, of course, with the creation of an open-source 3-D printer, the Fab@Home project that came out in parallel with another open-source project called the RepRap.
"These two printers really made the technology accessible to a lot of people, and hundreds, if not thousands of these machines have been built since then," Lipson tells us.
What's the Significance?
Now that this technology has been unleashed, where will it find its mainstream applications? In the video below, Lipson says that anyone "from chefs to surgeons to archaeologists are using this in lots and lots of different ways." But what about a home printer? Lipson says that these will most likely be used for making things that are consumable that people need on demand: toys, entertainment and food.
Watch the video here:
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.