3D Printing Comes to Life

From Dinosaurs to Data Centers, 3D Printing is Promising
to Revolutionize Countless Industries

Mobile isn’t the only thing giving Healthcare a boost these days, 3D printing (Additive Manufacturing) is also helping to revolutionize the industry – in a way that only $4 billion can. According to Visiongain, that’s how much the healthcare industry will spend on 3D Printing by 2018, delivering benefits from reduced surgery risks to the improved customization of prosthetic parts.

But healthcare isn’t the only sector being transformed by 3D printing. The futuristic technology is also being leveraged to help us better understand our past, with 3D printing and paleontology coming together in an unlikely partnership (or as Mashable says, “The Flinstones and The Jetsons in perfect harmony”). The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History currently has a team of experts scanning an entire Tyrannosaurus skeleton. After that process is finished they will upload the graphics online, allowing anyone with a 3D printer to print and study the fragile artifacts without causing damage.

“When they’re finished scanning the remnants, bone by bone, they’ll upload the graphics online. From there, anyone with a 3D printer and stable Internet connection can download and print her own replica, modeled to scale after the dead theropod on the table in front of us.”

[Read Mashable’s entire article on 3D printed dinosaur bones here]

Now I hope you caught that mid-sentence statement, “stable Internet connection”. 3D printing is set to become something like a replicator or transporter and the reproduction of tangible objects from size small to T-Rex is going to take A LOT of data. Delivering that data is ultimately a big bandwidth issue (but have no fear, if you’re itching to produce a dinosaur of your own, you can check your bandwidth requirements here). Just imagine not having enough bandwidth to accurately replicate a T-Rex bone and having it be incomplete.  That would just be a T-Wrong.

3D printers are also being applied to data centers to “prototype ‘data center modules”, enormously complex containers of computing equipment that can be pieced together — almost like giant Legos — to form much larger data center facilities. Since these pieces will be akin to Legos and much like a modular data center, the company is able move the pieces around and test and reshape prototypes much faster and with relative ease.  Google started this idea roughly 10 years ago and the idea quickly spread. Microsoft has also adopted this technology and many vendors, like Dell and HP, now sell modules that businesses can use in building their own data centers. Companies are even starting to explore the idea of printing motherboards and other types of circuitry.

From the unordinary (printing with Nutella) to the fascinating, 3D printing certainly has us all on the edge of our seats – our 3D printed, plastic seats.

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