This is a groundbreaking technology that has potential to improve many of our lives. However, 3D printers come in many shapes and sizes.
Some of these are more snazzy than others. For instance, here's the ORIGINATOR
, which seems to make knick-knacks; gears, trophies, and candle holders. It goes for $799.
By comparison, here's the Makerbot Replicator
, which costs a whopping $6,500 per piece. It's capable of printing much larger objects.
At first glance, this seems more of a hobby than anything else, which may prompt one to ask: why invest so much in a technology that just replicates trinkets? Because it's capable of doing much more than that.
3D technology has recently been making waves in the health industry. For instance, some 3D Printers are being used to make prosthetics.
"We're focusing on amniotic band syndrome, which is a birth defect in which one or more fingers are stunted in the womb. It's a problem," he says, "in which 3D-printed designs can very cleanly be leveraged to make people's lives better."citation
As the article points out, 3D-printed prosthetics are comparatively cheaper to their current counterparts.
3D Printers have also been making breakthroughs in other sectors of the health industry. For instance, (apologies for the dated article) developers are working on a 3D printed liver.
In addition, 3D printed ears might not only help the deaf hear, but do so beyond our own capabilities:
This project, however, is the team's first effort to create a fully functional organ: one that not only replicates a human ability, but extends it using embedded electronics.citation
I find all of this fascinating. For those that would like to weaken corporate America and redistribute the means of production, this might be the best way to do it.