I’ve been following the development of 3D printing for a while. The most notorious coverage has been for 3D gun manufacturing, I realize. But the potential is truly so much larger. To begin, 3D printing is the process of using a drafting software to capture layers and print an object, one dimension beyond software the allowed for dimensional drawing on a flat surface as defined by Oxford: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/3D-printing
How does this work? This quick video that lays out the basics and the range of development:
Recently, I’ve been following the very exciting sector of bioprinting and what it might offer medically.
In this example, bioprinting is used to “print “ cells right onto a patient’s burn, to speed the development of new skin: http://www.wakehealth.edu/Research/WFIRM/Research/Military-Applications/Printing-Skin-Cells-On-Burn-Wounds.htm
I’d read about an exhibit exploring 3D developments this fall in the NY Times. When the opportunity to visit the The Museum of Art and Design in NYC in December, (http://madmuseum.org/exhibition/out-hand). I put it high up on the list of places to visit. A current exhibit titled, “Beyond Hands” spans three floors that showcase how 3D is impacting everything from wearables, to weavables, and furniture.
We had the opportunity to visit with one of the designers in residence as well. She expressed enthusiasm for the variety of materials being tried as the material from which the 3D items are manufactured, everything from plastics, to paper, to metal, and plant extracts for bio-degradables. As a designer of wearable technology, she had not been pleased with the fact that the plastics were not washable, a problem for items worn against the skin.
One exhibitor (http://www.shapeways.com/) invited attendees to stand on a rotating platform and have a body scan that could be printed into a tiny 3D figure. One of my family members and myself decided to enjoy the experience. And here’s the process of my scan filmed by our daughter. Captured in the less than 2 minute video are the use of the camera, and the exhibit of the scanned person onto the software on the computer.
I had an interesting reaction to this experience. I know I am not totally pleased with my physical appearance, but for whatever reason, I thought, “
Well this is who I am, what I look like.” It was a moment of acceptance, which surprised me—an unexpected bi-product.
And my action figure arrived just this week! I’ve had some humorous moments thinking about a collection of these with family members or with office teams—you could replay moments of family reunions with the therapist, or work through team dynamics played out by these action figures.
A few days after the arrival, an Hershey's announced printable chocolate: http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/16/technology/3d-printer-chocolate/ So imagine possilbe 3D action favors...