Twenty years ago, it was almost unthinkable that music technology could progress beyond the compact disk, and it was just as hard to imagine that movies and TV shows could be watched on demand and that books could be transmitted wirelessly to handheld devices.
But here we are, in the year 2014, and all of those vague ideas are stark realities.
So what’s next?
According to some, the next big revolution in technology is 3D printing. If – as they predict – the price of 3D printing drops enough for the average consumer to buy their own printing systen, then instead of purchasing coffee makers and fishing reels online, we will simply download the plans and make them ourselves at home.
3D printers build thin layers of material one on top of the other until the final product is completed, often in a matter of hours. Even complex creations with interlocking and moving parts can be made out of materials ranging from various kindsof plastic to metal and even edible “inks” (for making pizzas and cookies!).
Among the possible impacts of this new technology is that mentioned by Forbes:
It will create immense opportunities for customization and DIY involvement. Many products will be able to outsource parts to home printers, thereby not just reducing prices but allowing consumers to have some say in how things are assembled. Want a different cover on your laptop? Print it at home, or even buy the device without a cover (it may be cheaper for consumers to create their own objects to complete products). In fact, products could be offered at varying levels of “completeness,” allowing customers to choose how involved they’d like to be in the manufacturing process. Consumers will mix-and-match parts to create unique versions of things, and then perhaps share their designs. Again, think of all the social media and community functions that will sprout up to support these activities, not to mention the sense of co-creative ownership consumers will feel with their brands.
Can you find a way to lower your living expenses using 3D printing? Can you imagine making a living using it?
Those who embrace new technology are oten the first to profit from it.
So start your creative engines and let me know how you will make this tech work for you!