3D printing is an area where usage has just exploded over the last year. There seems to be no limits to the awesome and industry-flipping use cases that are being presented. I wrote about some interesting of the industries that are at risk of being flipped by 3D-printing a while ago. What we’re seeing is an interesting example of a technology being adoped rapidly both by consumers and companies.
As companies like UPS are going into the future, and envisioning a world where logistics has been replaced by printing your own products, individual enthusiasts are going into the past, and using 3D-printing to bring back forgotten products. A pair of Swiss architects have 3D-printed a whole room, and many companies see huge potential in combining 3D-printing with traditional manufacturing techniques.
Bioprinting, for medical uses, is one of the most promising, China just printed human liver cells, but also one of the areas where tangible, usable results are the furtherest away. A San Diego lab is dreaming of printing cartilages.
The area which is closest to my heart is education, using 3D-printing to inspire kids to create and innovate. At a recent TED event I attended, the 3D-printer booth was by far the most crowded. MIT‘s Center for Bits and Atoms has over the last years been setting up Fab Labs all over the world (Neil Gershenfeld‘s TED talk from a few years ago here) and with 3d printers coming down in price, they are now teaching kids do hands-on science and create almost everything.