The future some 20 years from now will be quite interesting. Technological advances and human needs could conspire to introduce, on a mass scale, the following:
· Drones clogging our air space for deliveries.
· Driverless cars becoming the road majority.
· Greater use of robots and minibots to perform all kinds of tasks, from surgery to war.
· Wearable technology that becomes embedded into our bodies.
· In vitro fertilization of human eggs combined with robotics to yield the birth of a cyborg.
· We’ll have a digital currency that replaces cash.
· Everything once illegal, like drugs, gays, and undocumented foreigners, will be legal nationwide.
· Electronic voting will allow for a losing candidate to manipulate results an win an election for president.
Or, only some or none of these things will take hold if something totally unforeseen comes along and changes everything, much the way the Internet and smartphones have altered our lives.
Or, some disease like Ebola or a natural disaster, terrorist attack, alien invasion or other calamity will wipe out half the world on a scale unseen in history.
But it’s clear to me, barring anything crazy, that our society will be forever changed by 3-D printers. It is a revolutionary product that is about to take off. Eventually, the majority of Americans will own one, turning a hobby or novelty into a must-have.
You may recall when home computers were mass-produced in the early 80’s and they were marketed as being used to create household budgets. Look at what they’ve become – how fast, small, light, portable, cheap. Look at how we can’t go through a 24-hour day without consulting a computer.
You may also recall when things like VCR’s, big flat-screen TV’s and iPads came out. It took a few years for prices to drop and for early-adopters to convince the masses that a desire would become a need. The same will happen with 3-D printers.
Soon the masses will come to know what they are capable of and while the price prohibits too many buyers from jumping in, the price will drop and capabilities will simultaneously rise.
Right now low-end 3-D printers are in the $500 to $1000 range – they are small, slow, and not tested over time for durability. But, the technology is there for us to behold in amazement.
So what is a 3-D printer? Some 3-D printers cost $500,000 or even millions. They can do several things, including “printing” 3-D objects made out of plastic, metal, or other materials. They can be used to reproduce things that exist or new things that have never been designed before.
This has implications for the economy, security, law, environment and so many areas that it boggles the mind.
If there were a way to convert or recycle other materials into what you want, the world would be radically altered.
But this is close.
These computers print not with ink on paper but they use a gel, like a liquid plastic, that gets heated up and then layered to form an object. The object can’t be too big – it has to fit on the unit, which may only hold space for something 8-10 inches high or wide. But it can produce well-designed objects. As time goes by, these objects will have function, such as shoes, clothes, guns – even food.
It’ll alter manufacturing, transportation, and style. Everything will be customized and built on demand. Laws will be broken left and right, regarding patents, safety, etc. But people will have the power to make anything their mind creates – or to reproduce the design plans of anything on record.
3-D printers will become a household staple in 10-20 years and people will use them in all kinds of ways at work, at home, in our medical and science life, our entertainment, and in ways we can’t yet fully imagine.
I feel like 3-D printers give us a look into the future and it will be amazing. We have a history of bringing a box into our homes and seeing it change everything – television, home computers, and soon, 3-D printers. It’s one of those things we won’t be able to do without even though right now few of us can imagine a cost-effective, practical use for.
Humanity’s evolution depends on continual technological breakthroughs and 3-D printers shall lead the next revolution. Learn about them now, buy one soon.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014
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