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  • 10 Ways 3D Printing Will Change The World

  • 10. The Economy

  • You might remember when the internet revolutionised public access to information. Now we could

  • be on the cusp of the same thing happening to manufacturing.

  • As the technology advances over time, most people could very well have a 3D printer in

  • their homes - meaning manufacturing could begin to shift away from factories. In fact,

  • 3D printing's share of the worldwide manufacturing industry is set to reach $550 billion by 2025,

  • which is around 5% but it's only set to rise.

  • Such a change would be disruptive to traditional businesses - but some experts like Steve Sammartino

  • have urged companies to embrace it by collaborating with their users and making money from designs

  • rather than just production.

  • Not only that, but 3D printing - AKA additive manufacturing - could completely change the

  • concept of economies of scale, since now devices can create incredibly niche designs without

  • having to sell enough products to recoup setup costs.

  • 9. Prosthetics

  • Right now, artificial limb replacements and reconstructive surgery can be expensive, arduous

  • and painstaking processes. Prosthetic legs can cost as much as $50,000 in some cases

  • - and it's even worse in impoverished countries, which disproportionately contribute to the

  • 30 million people in need of artificial limbs and a 40,000 person shortage of prosthetists.

  • But with advances in additive manufacturing, we could see that number plummet.

  • Even now, a group of designers has created a 3D-printable prosthetic hand called the

  • 'Cyborg Beast'. This type of prosthesis was designed to allow children to cheaply

  • replace their hands as they grow. Each new traditional prosthesis would cost thousands

  • of dollars, whereas the 3D printing process means that the Cyborg Beast costs just $50

  • to produce.

  • It's even possible now to use bioprinters to create artificial skin which can be used

  • as grafts for patients suffering from burns and disfiguring injuries - though it's not

  • yet available for public use until it's approved.

  • 8. The Environment

  • You probably noticed that the coral reef is having a tough time right now. More than half

  • of Australia's famous Great Barrier Reef has disappeared since 1985 and a quarter of

  • it was lost in 2016 alone.

  • It's predominantly due to coral bleaching as a result of climate change increasing the

  • temperature of the ocean, and while this change is nearly irreversible, 3D printing is providing

  • a sustainable, albeit depressing solution.

  • Scientists are now testing fake reefs that carry out biological functions, but are much

  • more resistant to the damaging effects climate change. In theory, they will be large and

  • detailed enough to attract the algae that foster the coral ecosystem - essentially acting

  • like the real thing.

  • Monaco is currently testing artificial reefs in a bid to combat its own habitat loss, monitoring

  • the structures for two years to determine how feasible it truly is.

  • 7. Architecture

  • You're probably thinking 3D printing is just for small objects like consumer products

  • or really small objects like medical equipment. But recently, we've seen the scale of additive

  • manufacturing expand dramatically - it's now possible to print entire houses.

  • This 400 square meter, 2 storey home was created in China in 2016 and is capable of withstanding

  • a magnitude 8 earthquake. Even more impressively, construction company HuaShang Tengda achieved

  • the feat in just 45 days by utilising a giant 3D printer - compared to 7 months for the

  • average family house.

  • Homes have been created using this technology in the past, but this structure is the first

  • to have printed the house onto the building frame, rather than creating the parts separately

  • and assembling them.

  • Given the massively increased speed and reduced cost compared to conventional construction,

  • this kind of technology could drastically improve global housing conditions - particularly

  • in the developing world.

  • 6. Medicine

  • Prescription medicine is already prohibitively expensive for many people, and that's with

  • many pills just being 'close enough' to any given patient's individual condition.

  • But 3D printing is opening up a brave new world of medicine.

  • Pharmaceutical company Aprecia has created the world's first 3D printed drug, named

  • Spiritam, which, if you were wondering, is designed to control epilepsy-induced seizures.

  • The company employs a technology called Zipdose, which allows pills to be 3D-printed and bound

  • together in an aqueous fluid. That makes them both more dissolvable for patient ease and

  • can pack in more medicine per pill.

  • But most importantly, this could lead to pharmacies being able to 3D print drugs with specific

  • compositions - essentially tailoring them to the individual instead of hoping the closest

  • appropriate dosage of mass-produced pills does the trick.

  • That could mean more effective and personalised treatment for future patients, reducing the

  • risk of incorrect or disproportionate prescriptions.

  • 5. Forensics

  • When it comes to evidence in trials, you're probably thinking of pixelated printouts and

  • approximate analysis. But all that could be a thing of the past as 3D printing makes crime

  • come to life, or close enough at least.

  • It's now possible to manufacture precise models of any evidence that could be relevant

  • to solving a case or trying it in court. Everything from footprints, fingerprints and bones to

  • reconstructed scale models of crime scenes.

  • In one particularly intriguing case in 2016, forensic investigators used additive manufacturing

  • to reconstruct the skull of a dead woman from Greene County Ohio, who couldn't be identified

  • by her DNA, dental records or even her tattoos. After the 72 hour printing process, the Ohio

  • State University team then managed to recreate the face of the unfortunate woman - it's

  • hoped that it will eventually lead to her identification.

  • 4. Guns

  • Like with the internet expanding access to informative and dangerous information alike,

  • 3D printing risks dangerous objects being created with little effective means of regulation

  • - case in point: guns.

  • 3D printed guns have already been designed and produced as early as 2013 by the controversial

  • group Defense Distributed, which acts to make so called 'wiki-weapons' publicly available.

  • The European law agency Europol believes criminals will still be more interested in traditional

  • firearms, but the increasing ease of 3D printing tech could make this a real risk in the future.

  • The Chinese city of Chongqing is so worried about the potential that it has made it law

  • for 3D printers to be registered with the government in order to prevent them being

  • used to create illegal items.

  • 3. Food

  • Imagine coming home after work to find your fridge bare and the supermarkets closed. Well

  • have no fear, soon you'll be able to just download a recipe and print your dinner.

  • In recent years, a swathe of companies have developed their own 3D food printers. The

  • early models focussed on the easy stuff like shaping sugary substances, but now it's

  • possible to make actual meals like pizza, spaghetti and burgers by constructing them

  • from their base ingredients.

  • If and when it becomes an everyday feature in the home, this tech could allow people

  • to have new levels of control over their nutrition by printing meals with specific dietary content

  • - without having to spend hours sourcing and preparing them.

  • Some scientists have even suggested that by replacing base ingredients with more renewable

  • ones like algae, duckweed and grass, this technology could help to combat the world's

  • ever growing food needs.

  • 2. Space Travel

  • So this one isn't technically the world, but even so, the burgeoning 3D printing market

  • could have major implications on how space travel is approached in the future.

  • One of the big issues for any space mission is the contingency plans for the inevitable

  • malfunctions - especially when it comes to fixing or replacing broken equipment. But

  • with an onboard 3D printer, it would be possible to create any given part with the same manufacturing

  • tools.

  • That idea has already been put into practice on the International Space Station in 2014,

  • when its then-new onboard 3D printer tested creating a part while in orbit.

  • As well as giving the ISS the ability to essentially 'beam up' parts from earth, it could save

  • as much as $20,000 per kilogram in the cost of sending supplies into space

  • 1.Surgery

  • As you've already seen, bioprinting has made massive strides in recent years. It's

  • even thought that within our lifetime, we will be able to 3D print human organs. Using

  • what's called 'flink' - or functional living ink - it is possible to recreate a

  • working kidney, lung or even a heart.

  • When perfected, 3D printed organs could revolutionise medical treatment, ending the wait for the

  • 120,000 people on the US transplant waiting list and theoretically preventing the deaths

  • of as many as 8,000 people per year in the US alone.

  • But there are concerns that such innovative technology could be seen as playing god by

  • reducing people to the sum of their parts - natural or otherwise.

  • In the meantime, though, , surgeons are making use of 3D printing by creating sophisticated

  • replicas of the organs and surrounding tissue that they'll be operating on - because as

  • everyone knows, practice makes perfect.

  • That was 10 ways 3D printing will change the world, which one will have the biggest impact?

  • Let us know in the comments and make sure to like and subscribe. While you're at it,

  • check out this great Alltime10s video on screen now.

10 Ways 3D Printing Will Change The World

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B1 UK printing manufacturing printed additive printer technology

10 Ways 3D Printing Will Change The World

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