How 3D Printing Will Change Your Life

3D printers have moved quickly from the industrial scale to home use but, despite futurists' claims to the contrary, they are not quite ready to make you a tea, earl gray, hot. 

What's the Latest Development?


3D printing technology has progressed rapidly in the last twenty years but is the next industrial revolution really on the horizon? Perhaps not in the same way some futurists would wish. Currently, at-home 3D printers are limited to making objects from a kind of plastic called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. Most useful devices contain at least two kinds of material and currently, only industrial 3D printers are up to that task. But even when it comes to mass production, industrial printers make simple objects like plastic cell phone covers. 

What's the Big Idea?

The mistake futurists make in their assessment that at-home 3D printers will revolutionize our consumption habits (by allowing every household to print their own everything), is that Moore's Law, which has allowed the power of electric computational devices to double about every 18 months, does not apply to the advance of physical products. "It's a point of frustration among industry insiders that the public expects 3D printers to perform like Star Trek’s replicators: All you have to do is say, 'Tea, Earl Grey, hot'."

Photo credit: shutterstock.com


LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Love in a time of migrants: on rethinking arranged marriages

Arranged marriages and Western romantic practices have more in common than we might think.

Culture & Religion

In his book In Praise of Love (2009), the French communist philosopher Alain Badiou attacks the notion of 'risk-free love', which he sees written in the commercial language of dating services that promise their customers 'love, without falling in love'.

Keep reading Show less