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Could 3D Printing Change the World?

By: Faben Henok

Three dimensional (3D) printing has allowed the world to achieve many benefits from technological innovation. It begins with a digital file. With that file a 3D printer manufactures the 3D model. The future with this technology will provide global society with benefits in the areas of nutrition, health, and other basic necessities [1].

Since 2014, the 3D printing industry has produced revenue of over $3 billion USD. This industry is projected to grow by 133% within the next three years and by 2020 is expected to reach $21 billion USD in revenue[2]. As of 2018, the United States, Europe, and China are leading with the most 3D printer manufactures in the world, utilizing this by creating settlements, space-stations, cars, and many other contraptions that can be derived from a digital file. On the horizon, developing countries will be able to use this technology to empower their nations to build with glass, metal, and wood [2].

The success of 3D printing in the medical field has been proven through the bioprinting of prosthetic legs. Starting with a woman named Belinda Gatland who lost her leg and was the first to receive a bioprinted prosthetic. This leg was cheaper and more attractive than a normal prosthetic. With this technology, humans can build organs and body parts. Also, this technology will improve the eating experience by food printing and creating “small eye-pleasing food.” [4] There is going to be benefit in taking advantage of the technology by making large amounts of food for developing countries [4] further cementing the wholistic effect that 3D printing will have on the way we live, work, and play.

Although 3D printing is groundbreaking there are some downfalls. Amada Pearson argues that this technology is slow, expensive, and energy inefficient until the technology is perfected years later [5]. Some companies want to incorporate aspects of 3D printing as it serves multiple purposes from bioprinting to food printing. With this new technology global society can only improve from here.

[1] http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/images/files/publication_pdfs/403/101711_ACUS_3DPrinting.PDF 

[2] https://richtopia.com/emerging-technologies/11-disruptive-technology-examples 

[3] https://3dinsider.com/3d-printing-disadvantages/  

[4] https://richtopia.com/entity/sustainable-development-goals  

[5] https://www.science.org.au/curious/people-medicine/bioprinting  

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