Menu
Will 3D printing really change the world?

Will 3D printing really change the world?

The potential of 3D printers reaches beyond revolutionising the printing market and into transforming entire industrie

What if I were to tell you that one day printers will be able to build homes, manufacture guns and cook food? That would be pretty remarkable progress, and to my surprise, it's quite possible.

The potential of 3D printers reaches beyond revolutionising the printing market and into transforming entire industries.

To be honest, the term "3D printing" doesn't do justice to the true capabilities of this technology. Lucas Mearian, a senior writer at Computerworld (one of CIO's sister brands), writes frequently about this topic. In December, he wrote about the first 3-D printed organ (a liver), which is expected later this year. The month before, he explored the dangers of 3-D printed guns exploding.

Both of those examples highlight how 3D printers can produce very complex products, one through advancing medical science, the other with thermoplastic materials.

If you take it one step further, you can see that once these printers can scale in size, much larger items can be built with little human labor. Construction of homes from 3D printing becomes a real possibility. (There's already a video on YouTube from a TEDx talk last year about " contour crafting" and the automated construction of a house.) But if you really want to dream big, imagine sending these printers to the moon, where they could build facilities that are managed from Earth.

Not crazy enough for you? Think about the ability to actually have food available wherever there is electricity. The food would be freeze-dried, crushed and placed into "ink cartridges." With the push of a 3D printer button, the heat it produces could cook your food.

Imagine having a 3D printer available to print replacement parts at your business or home. When something breaks, you simply download the specs and print it out wherever you are. No customer service calls, no shipping and handling costs, no waiting.

When I think of the ramifications all this will have on intellectual property protection in just about every industry, it's more than a little mind-boggling. No wonder the Harvard Business Review wrote about this last spring under the headline, "3-D Printing Will Change the World."

Michael Friedenberg is the president of CIO magazine's parent company, IDG Communications. Email him at mfriedenberg@cio.com.

Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Read more about innovation in CIO's Innovation Drilldown.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Management | InnovationleadershipNetworkingCIO role3-D printingIT managementCIOyoutubemanagement

Featured

Slideshows

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017

Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017

​The New Year brings the usual new round of humdrum technology predictions, glaringly general, unashamedly safe and perpetually predictable. But while the industry no longer sees value in “cloud is now the norm” type projections, value can be found in following developments of the year previous, analysing behaviours and patterns to formulate a plan for the 12 months ahead. Consequently, here’s the top Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017...

Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017
Show Comments