Although it sounds like something out of a science fiction film, 3D printing is taking the research world by storm. Whilst the idea of the 3D printer was first brought to life by scientists in the 1980s, developments in the last few years have made the technology advance in leaps and bounds. Since 3D printers have become easier to use and produce, universities and research facilities around the world now have access to this miraculous technology, and the advancements are coming fast.
Here are some amazing feats of technology currently in development around the world:
Researchers at Harvard University have discovered a process which can manufacture batteries the size of a grain of sand. These “microbatteries” have the potential to be used in every field from defence to communications.
Surgeon Anthony Atala is pioneering the relatively new field of “regenerative medicine”, which could see advancements such as artificially produced, fully functioning human organs. With advancements in 3D printing technology, scientists are currently creating a working human kidney.
Imagine a pair of running shoes designed to fit your feet perfectly, created for every curve and contour of your leg. Shoe manufacturers New Balance have already made this a reality, with each pair of shoes processed specifically to aid their individual wearer and improve their athletic performance.
People have already begun to benefit from better-made prosthetics around the world, thanks to 3D printing technology. Richard Van, a South African carpenter who lost two fingers on the job, turned out to be an unlikely champion for the technology, but Mr Van has already fitted 100 children with his prosthetic printed hands.
Scientists at NASA are considering 3D food printing as the next step to keep astronauts fed in space. With the click of a button, we may soon decide what we eat, whilst balancing our nutritional intake at the click of a button.