Friday, February 22, 2013

3D Printing will Change Our World

February 22, 2013

One of the most interesting tech developments since nanotechnology, 3D printers may change the world faster than the personal computer did.

Imagine 3D printed body organs, crafted from 3D printed stem cells and transplanted lacroscopically.  My guess is within five years. I've been following this one for a while. Kidney transplants, heart transplants, bypass surgery, pancreas transplants, breast reconstruction, dental tooth replacement, hip and knee replacement, might all be possible soon, by extractting an individual's stem cells or the cells from the actual organ within the body, copying them, and using the 3D software and printer to craft them into organs which won't be rejected. Read the entire article for a vision of this brave new world.

When I spoke with my friend Greg Koss about this, he responded:

The 3D printing idea might take some plausibly interesting turns.

Imagine you can take a picture of a key with your phone.  An app will scan the image of the key, and then a 3D printer will make a copy.

Take that model a step further.  Imagine using an app to quickly turn regular text into Braille to hide it from someone in plain sight.

The current media for 3D printers are restricted to plastic.  But the plastic can be coated with any number of substances.  Imagine using the plastic as essentially a lost wax process to create metal parts when needed.  Now you can create fairly high tolerance metal parts from scratch or by photographing something.

Greg’s vision is spot on.

Let’s assume you’re working in an intelligence service and have to travel. You’ll need to change your identity and arm yourself when you arrive. How about using a 3D printer to produce a weapon? After you travel, take the photos of what you need to have to a cobbler and leave a few hours later with a gun, ammunition, a new passport, driver’s license, credit cards and other tradecraft necessities. Soon, very soon, this will be a nasty tradecraft reality.