When tracking technological innovation, pay attention not so much to what is new as to what is ready to take off. This is how the Institute for the Future looks at development within 3D printing. They explain in extend future possibilities and opportunities on their website Openfabrication.org. In a series of articles they explain what 3D printing is and how it will impact the way we make and use objects. It describes fundamental contexts for the future of open fabrication. Humans have been “making” for millennia, but how will this next crucial advance develop in the coming decade?
These series also address the foundations where they lay out the building blocks of open fabrication, from mesh merging software and 3D scanning to biological feedstocks and printable electronics. For instance the open source software movement, in which original source code is made freely available and can be redistributed, has had a tremendous impact within the IT industy over the last two decades. Now, emerging technologies promise to similarly move the fabrication of physical things toward greater digitization and democratization. We are entering a world in which software code can be used to produce objects, and in this world, new technologies will allow for more free availability and distribution of actual things. At the center of this shift is the emergence of systems for using software to build physical objects. For example, in 3D printing or additive fabrication technologies.
They also take you into the world of open fabrication communities like the Maker bot, the first affordable 3D printer aimed at the non-industrial market, and then out again to China Shanzai manufacturers, whose small-batch open networks give us clues about what the future of 3D printing might look like.
If you are interested in reading a well-founded insight on what lies ahead for 3D printing, then go visit their website and read the full story