3.2 Output: From Pulses to People

The name “3D printer” doesn’t come close to evoking the transformative potential of this rapidly emerging technology. In this intriguing TED Talk, Avi Reichental describes how 3D printers are revolutionizing medicine, manufacturing, and more. How does it change our world when complexity is free?

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We’ve heard about how 3D printers can be used to manufacture toys, small machine parts, and even some prosthetic devices for human bodies. But as applications emerge, so do some difficult questions.

  • According to this Wired story, a printed car might soon share the road with you. But for legal reasons, it might technically be a motorcycle.
  • This NPR story explores some of the intellectual property questions raised by 3-D printers.
  • It’s one thing to print a figurine of a copyrighted comic book character; printing a lethal weapon is something else altogether.
    This NPR story explains how 3-D printers muddy the waters in the debate over gun safety.

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3D Printing May Change Everything—and Soon

January 8, 2013
Printed cup

We’ve been hearing about 3D printers for quite a while. But according to this Planet Money story on NPR, the 3D printer may soon be showing up all over the place, changing the way we live, shop, and work in profound ways.

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Print a Burrito For Me

July 5, 2012

3D printers are used to create plastic prototypes and parts for machines, among other things. But this is the first burrito printer we’ve seen. How long will it be until the global taco chains replace people with printers?

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What Can 3D Printers Do Right Now?

April 27, 2012
Invisalign braces

It’s easy to imagine a future filled with 3D printers doing all kinds of fantastic things. But 3D printers are already being put to work in all kinds of fascinating applications. You’ll probably be surprised by many of the pictures in this Wired photo essay.

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Is There a 3D Printer in Your Future?

February 2, 2012

3D printers can create solid objects from data. In the near future, you may own one. You may buy products printed to your specifications. Or you may know someone who has an artificial body part made by a 3D printer. In this enlightening TED video, Lisa Harouni shows how this technology works and how it […]

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