Just as easy-to-post blog technology turned consumers into amateur journalists and Pagemaker and Adobe helped people to become DIY graphic designers, we now see the next stage of this evolution or what I call "return to the cottage industry" trend ....enter the consumer-turned-designer (from your mind, to the screen and into your hands). This could become one of the most disruptive technologies of the decade, leading to greater open source innovation and "crowd sourcing' for new product ideas and concepts.
According to Technology Review today:
"A new online service aims to bring customized manufacturing to the masses by allowing consumers to submit digital designs of products that are then printed, using 3-D printers, and shipped back.
Currently, such 3-D printers--in which successive layers of different polymers are sprayed gradually, building up a 3-D object--are very expensive, says Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO of Shapeways a spinout from Philips Research, in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
But the new service, launched last week, makes this technology accessible to anyone: budding artists, architects, product designers, and general hobbyists. A small design company might want to make samples to show a client, or an artist might want to make copies of the same sculpture created digitally, for example.
"From a technology viewpoint, Shapeways is not that new," says Weijmarshausen. "Rapid prototyping has been used by the aircraft and automotive industries for years, but now we're making it accessible to consumers."
[Now, all that's missing is for schools (from public to university) to start directly teaching lateral and critical thinking skills and thinking in 3D, as a seperate course to optimize for the best use of this technology--Walter Derzko]
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