People in the media are hyperventilating over 3D printers being used to make guns. It all reminds me of the early days of the internet, when the mainstream response was internet = bad. In fact, I distinctly remember a news/magazine-format breaking TV programme in the mid 90s that ran a cautionary report that “children as young as eight were getting access to the internet.” Not that they were using it unsupervised, etc, just that they were actually “seeing it”. Incredible.
Let’s not let them scare us in the same way about 3D printers. The truth is, the 3D printing revolution, just like the revolution of the world wide web, will overwhelmingly be a positive revolution. Just one example, the Daily Beast gives us a glimpse at how 3D printers can supply food and a perfectly balanced diet for everyone. They’ve spoken to Anjan Contractor (cool name), who’s just putting together the finer points of a 3D food printer:
Contractor, a mechanical engineer with a background in 3D printing, envisions a much more mundane—and ultimately more important—use for the technology. He sees a day when every kitchen has a 3D printer, and the earth’s 12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store. Contractor’s vision would mean the end of food waste, because the powder his system will use is shelf-stable for up to 30 years, so that each cartridge, whether it contains sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein or some other basic building block, would be fully exhausted before being returned to the store.
The future’s very exciting…