3D printing has arrived and taken the tech community by storm. Here at CIMTEC, we currently have three 3D printers in our office. One of our engineers, Todd, is our 3D printing guru. Todd is usually running several printers for most of the day. Todd loves 3D printers because of how practical the machines are. He explained to me that the practicality of the machines rests in their ability to create an extremely diverse array of objects. Todd claims his personal printer at home is the best investment he has ever made. He explained that his printer makes home improvements easier due to its ability to replace a broken object in minutes. 3D printers may be able to reshape our world. In this post, I will detail how they could.
3D printers are already able to print organic matter. Some scientists believe that, in coming years, 3D printers will also be able to reproduce human organs. This would be a remarkable feat that could potentially save millions of lives. The technology would be able to use stem cells from the individual to print the organic matter, thereby making the organ specific to the individual.
This technology is years away, but corporations have already started planning for the possibilities. One such company is L’Oreal, which “is pushing to 3D print skin. The work has huge implications. Most obviously, it will enable L’Oreal to lab test the safety and performance of cosmetic products on 3D bio printed skin. The result will be much more affordably, quickly and easily tested products, throughout the design process – instead of needing to assess their reaction with real bodies or hair before the final stages of testing.” (Leonard King, Forbes)
The ability to print genetic organs offers the possibility of revolutionizing the beauty business, and more importantly our understanding of human health.
3D printers have another incredible possibility, replacing the manufacturing of some goods entirely. The digital design schematics for many products are currently available on the web. Most are free of charge while some are for sale at a low price. Printing the exact digital schematics of goods could revolutionize the way we shop. Imagine, if a user wanted a pair of new Nikes, they might only need to buy the digital schematics and then print the shoes in their own home. That is the direction that 3D printers very well could be taking us.
One thing is certain. 3D printers are here to stay.