3D printing is increasingly deemed as the next big technological innovation.
For those who still do not know much about it, 3D printers are machines that enable you to turn your 3D designs on your PC/Mac into solid and touchable objects. All what you need to do is just to ‘print them out’! Therefore, a 3D scanner or a design program along with a 3D printer are the only two tools you need to physically create something that before you could only see on your screen.
(Source: You Tube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwuGbnjKJBc)
(Source: Google images, http://about3dprinters.com/uploads/3/2/0/5/3205232/596548_orig.jpg)
The matter doesn’t stop here though. Believe it or not, this new technology is slowly being used not only for industrial purposes, but also for many other ones.
3D PRINTING IN EDUCATION:
Justin Marquis points out that 3D printings can be a new way to teach and learn. Reasonably, some disciplines are more suitable than others. For instance, in chemistry complex models of chemistry structures can be easily printed out, just as in biology organs and in architecture model houses. Professors have the opportunity to teach having on their hands the subject of discussion. Likewise, students can physically examine and have a faster and better understanding of the subject. Moreover, 3D printings can be particularly useful for online students and, accordingly, could help develop the Online university market.
The Science Museum in London has already implemented this new technology. Lisa Harouni runs a technology company in London that makes software for 3D printers. According to her, one of the misconceptions about 3D printing is that everybody has to learn how to use professional design programmes to interact with 3D printers. To find the 3D files that 3D printers can read and build, it’s possible to go to apposite websites and to download some templates customising and tweaking them. Or, it is as well possible to scan a product that already exists and have a replicate by a 3D printer. Thereby, anybody can design or tweak an existing professional design and end up creating his own 3D printing.
Now, let’s imagine how many opportunities the British Museum, the Natural History museum, the Design museum and the Imperial War museum, to mention just a few, have with 3D printing. They could 3D print the missing part of an animal skeleton or historical object to enhance the audience understanding, in a cheap and easy way.
3D PRINTING FOR EVENTS AND MARKETING:
The opportunities of 3D printing are infinite and we can currently see a growing interest of brands for this technology. The mass marketing professionals see it as a way to offer goodies or souvenirs to their consumers during events, as they used to do with pictures or T-shirts. Small and handy, the 3D printers can be easily transportable to the event place. What a fun experience for the customer to see his personalised gadgets printed in front of his eyes!
But 3D printed can be also a cheap way to improve the consumer experience, as a part of a dedicated device or installation. 3D models can be easily found on the internet for free and adjusted to the specific needs of a brand.
Altergaze is a practical example of the usage of 3D printing in the marketing and educational fields. The aim of this project is to create smartphone based 3D printed goggles which allow you to experience Virtual Reality in a very cheap and easy-to-implement way. This new object is a Virtual Reality interface that uses the smartphone power to deliver a mobile VR experience. By just wearing these funny goggles you are immersed in an extraordinary 3D reality.
The uses of this new tool might nearly be infinite. Think, for example, to its usage in public events, such as concerts, museums, galleries, theatres, historical sites and travel tours: the event organiser could hand them at the entrance and visitors could have a unique experience.
In summary, the horizons 3D printings are opening up are extensive. Not surprisingly, somebody refers to them as to the 3rd or 3D industrial revolution! How not to agree with them?! Shortly, we will be immersed in a reality where we will be able to fabricate our own personal objects and to visit the museum or city of our dreams.
3D printings and Altergaze goggles: http://www.altergaze.com.
Justin Martins and 3D printing in education: http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2013/06/does-3d-printing-have-a-place-in-your-higher-education/
3D printing at the Science museum: