Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Build your dream house, while sitting at your computer

I've always been excited about the potential for creating physical objects from a printer.

HUH? I hear you say. Well, bear with me. For some time now developers have been improving a technology using what are known as "3D printers." No, not 3D in the sense of wearing special goggles at the movies. We're talking physical creation - these so-called "printers" use different materials, from paper to plastic to metal and even to concrete, and build actual objects layer by layer. The objects range from prosthetic devices to models of buildings to lamps to doorknobs and even to - yes! - houses.

It truly is a matter of sending your computer-generated 3D model that you see on your screen to one of these machines, which then manufactures the thing - just like you were sending a document to a printer. They can even make things with moving parts. Pretty damn cool, no?

Think about the possibilities and implications. Custom-generated items that are unique - print once, delete the file. Remote creation of items. All done automatically, so no more manual handling. Prices are dropping dramatically, making it feasible even for small businesses to enter the fray.

Imagine actually building your house in California while sitting at your 'puter in Ohio!

Read about it here, courtesy of the NYTimes. The short demo video below is worth watching too!

[Btw, if you clicked the NYTimes link, you will notice that I directed you to their print page for the article. I'm going to do this wherever I can in future, because there are far fewer ads, and the page loads quicker.]

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