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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IT managementmanagementNetworkingyoutubeManagement | Innovation3-D printing

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments