Carl Bass, president and CEO of Autodesk, has a very good post on the limits and opportunities of 3D printing. Because 3D printing is constrained by the immutable fact of cubic volume, which means that making things larger costs exponentially more, the major opportunities aren't in printing big stuff. Rather, it's in printing detailed things, complicated things, one-off things -- and in making printers that don't rely on a razor/razorblade business model and charge a fortune for new feedstock to a captive audience.
I think two important areas to watch here are printing electronics — i.e., not just objects but logic and function — and the burgeoning field of bioprinting. The latter represents some of the most exciting work employing 3-D printers. For example, Dr. Anthony Atala of Wake Forest University has pioneered work that includes the successful printing and implantation of human urethras. San Diego-based Organovo prints functional human tissue that can be used for medical research and therapeutic applications. And companies like Craig Venter’s as well as Cambrian Genomics (which I have a small personal investment in) are printing DNA — yes, DNA! — one base pair at a time.
One thing I think he misses is "slow printing" -- 3D printers that use material from the environment (maybe sand blown over a collector for a solar-powered printer on a beach) to print out, over the course of years or decades, very large numbers of small components, or even very large components.
An Insider’s View of the Myths and Truths of the 3-D Printing ‘Phenomenon’ [Carl Bass/Wired]
Chester (or Shasta?), a Red Labrador, has figured out a way to deal with the Roomba that’s more efficient than barking at it or biting it: turning it off. [Thanks, Heather!]
An EU court ruled against a seller of customized set-top boxes this week, with the judge saying that his preinstallation of certain Kodi Add-Ons makes the boxes illegal to offer. Mr Wullems sells, over the internet, various models of a multimedia player under the name ‘filmspeler’. That device acts as a medium between a source […]
AquaGenie is “the world’s smartest water bottle,” a $70 internet-of-things device that “knows your water goals” and will connect to the Internet to inform you if you have met them. AquaGenie is your daily companion that keeps you on track and fully hydrated, helping you achieve all your health, wellness, fitness and weight loss goals! […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]