Friday Link Roundup: a Busy Week for 3D Printing

TGIFWe mentioned in our 2014 Tech Trends analysis that 3D printing was set to be a hot topic this year, with the cost of the technology finally dipping low enough that companies and consumers alike have begun experimenting with and pushing the limits of these devices. We’re only a month into 2014, and already this has been a very exciting year for 3D printers, as evidenced by the following links:

 

All we want to know is: how long until we can print a 3D printer using a 3D printer?

One thing we can do in the meantime, thanks to Honda, is print our own Acura concept cars:

Printer manufacturer MakerBot made two big breakthroughs this week:

So 3D printing is set to revolutionize the way we create durable goods, but what about something more… edible?

Yum.

 

What’s really impressive, though, is how consumers are utilizing 3D printing to improve quality of life, especially for those with disabilities.

Special equipment can often be expensive as demand is relatively small. Raul Krauthausen says: “It’s better to be able to print a wheelchair cup holder and make it available for 10 euros.” He suggests that currently you can find yourself paying something like 100 euros for a small piece of specialist equipment manufactured and sold in the old way.

 

While this is great news, it’s sure to spark some debate:

  • ZDNet’s Toby Wolpe investigates the potential political, moral, and financial ramifications of a 3D printing revolution

    “The very factors that foster innovation — crowdsourcing, R&D pooling and funding of startups — coupled with shorter product life cycles, provide a fertile ground for intellectual property theft using 3D printers,” Basiliere said.

    “Already, it’s possible to 3D print many items, including toys, machine and automotive parts, and even weapons.”

    In the report 3D printing at the inflection point, Gartner argues that 3D printing could create an environment where businesses and their IP licensees will struggle to make money out of their inventions.

 

 

Find any cool IT links this week? Tell us in the comments or Tweet us @NetopTech!

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