printing is a form of technology used in a number of present-day applications
- such as industrial prototyping, product design, medical modeling and
architectural models.* At present,
it is highly expensive: upwards of $15,000 per machine. However, in
the near future it is likely to become affordable to the consumer market.**
than using ink on paper, these machines will actually "print"
3D objects. This will be achieved by melting nylon powder and then shaping
it based on computer instructions.
different items will be reproducible – from jewellery and decorative
giftware, to children's toys, kitchenware, replacement plugs, hooks,
pipes, fittings, flooring and other household essentials.
download new items and configurations from the Web.* Artists or hobbyists could even create and share their own, using these
printers in combination with 3D scanners and modeling software. Just
as we send and receive electronic music and picture files today, it
will one day be possible to send physical objects as email attachments.
to falling costs, another reason that home 3D printing will take off
rapidly is that there is very little manufacturing being done in America
and various other countries anymore. As a result, there will be little
or no pressure by manufacturing special interests against it.
decades ahead,* this technology
will evolve into nanofabricators - also known as "universal assemblers"
- capable of making items with atomic precision within minutes. With
more accuracy and power, a vastly greater range of items could be generated.
these machines will be perfected with near-instantaneous reproduction
of virtually any known object. These Star Trek-style matter replicators
would allow a number of the world's most pressing issues to be dealt
with - such as poverty, hunger and disease. Traditional agriculture,
manufacturing and distribution would become obsolete, replaced by purely
information-driven systems and completely decentralised.*