Every other day we hear of new technology trends that boggle our minds and forces us to think- How is this possible? And slowly and gradually with the lapse of time we get adapted to the technology making it a part of our everyday lives. Yes, one such technology trend to which you might be completely ignorant as of now but which is bound to become a part of your daily lives in times to come is 3D printing- a new technology I am most excited about.
3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing. In simpler terms, it is a process whereby a real object can be created from a 3D design. It is done by laying down successive layers of material in different shapes. Though this technology may sound a bit too futuristic to some but with HP’s 3D printer much anticipated launch in mid 2014, all your ideas turning into real objects are not that far away.
Is 3D printing the need of the future?
At present, 3D printers are generally slow, and the component they use is costly and inconsistent. But with the advancement of industry, assembly lines could be reduced and supply chains could be shortened. Also printing on demand could wipe out the need for warehouses for many companies to a large extent. Reducing shipping and knocking out the waste and pollution of conventional subtractive manufacturing could be an environmental boon.
These few examples of what 3D printing could do are definitely bound to catch your attention:
1. Create pharmaceutical drugs– With patients being able to print out their prescriptions, a revolutionary shift in the pharmaceutical industry is destined to happen. Yes, tailored to the distinct needs of an individual, 3D printing technology could let you print your pharmaceuticals at home. “In the future, we will not sell drugs, but blueprints or apps,” says Lee Cronin, a chemist from the University of Glasgow.
2. Print your own clothing- Printers are getting closer to generating great fabric-like materials, using interlinked structures to create knits and stitches. This could possibly have an impact on the fashion industry in times to come.
3. Print food- When you think that you’ve heard it all when it comes to pretty crazy operations of 3D printing, think again! 3D printers will combine powders to produce food. 3D printing already functions quite well when it comes to making chocolate, so who knows what’s next?
4. Space Explorations- With NASA investing in 3D food printer for its Mars Missions, food items for astronauts could also be made on the fly. This also makes 3D Printing a promising technology for future space missions.
Even though some of the current examples of 3D printing may seem a bit out of the ordinary, the method of adding a number of materials to make products in a very cost-efficient manner is highly interesting. Though most of the 3D printing applications are still very much at a prototyping stage in the present day but the capability to produce medication or food of your choice through your own 3D printer is not too far away.