What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Hod Lipson: For many years, at least recently we’ve seen a lot of transition from the physical into the virtual.  Everything is being scanned from books to photography to even 3-D scanning of objects and so forth.  What this technology is allowing us to do is to move back into the physical world.  To take this digital media, just like we can now print books on demand and so forth, we can now start printing objects.

I’ve been working with 3-D printers since really the, I’ve seen it first in the late ‘80s.  You know up until I'd say about the mid-2000s, 2005 or so, this technology was mostly locked in very expensive machines with very narrow markets and every machine cost upwards of $50,000 and that was one of the reasons why most people weren't aware of it.

But in 2005 something interesting happened and what we did is we took this technology and we created an open source 3-D printer.  Something that would cost about $1,000 in parts with the blueprints freely available online and the parts freely available, and basically anybody could make their own 3-D printers.  So this was the Fab@Home project in 2005 and opened up in parallel with another open source project called the RepRap and these two printers I believe really made the technology accessible to a lot of people, and hundreds, if not thousands of these machines have been built since then.  I think what was really happening now that's very exciting is that the technology while has been progressing and improving fairly steadily over the last three decades, the range of applications is what is exploding now.  All these new applications are happening mostly because the technology has kind of unleashed itself and become available to people who are not technical.  So it’s not just a few people working with this but really anywhere from chefs to surgeons to archaeologists are using this in lots and lots of different ways.

One of the questions I’m often asked is whether everybody will have a printer in their home in the future.  And I think if you look at the analogy to computers you can see that everybody has multiple computers in their home.  But not just in their home, we have computers in our pockets, we have computers on our desktop, there are computers in the cloud.  And I think the same kind of thing will happen also with 3-D printers.  We will have 3-D printers in our home. We will have 3-D printers at work and in the cloud.  And there will be different types of printers doing different things.

So for example what would people use a 3-D printer at home for?  Probably for making things that are consumable that they need on demand. Mostly things like toys, entertainment and food.  Food is a really interesting example of something that you might want to fabricate, to prepare on demand.  But when you’re talking about printing let’s say metal parts for replacement parts for your car, that’s probably a printer that you don’t need at home.  You’ll be happy to have that at your car mechanics.  Or a bioprinter for printing implants would probably be something you’ll find in hospitals, again not at home.  So I think we’ll see a huge variety of different printers, different sizes, different capabilities and different locations.

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd

 

 

 

 

3D Printing: Consumption On...

Newsletter: Share: