PrintCountry proposed "5 Ways Your Grandkids will Use 3D Printers in 2050" in a whimsical post recently. We thought about their list and came up with our own. But first, here's PrintCountry's assessment:
- Organs What if in 2050, no one will have to be on a waiting list for an organ transplant ever again? The children of the future just might be able to find a way to replace body organs. Your grandkids might be able to create skin with a 3D printer, and no one will ever know the difference.
- Toys In 2050, you may not need to bring your grandchildren to the toy store. Why? They’ll most probably be designing and creating their own toys by then. You can already make your own action figures today, although it is difficult to make them out of non-toxic materials. By 2050, non-toxic materials for the 3D printer should be readily and easily available.
- Automobile Parts It’s very possible that your grandchildren will construct their own cars with this type of printer. If they are able to construct a majority or all of the different parts of an automobile and are able to assemble it, then there will be no need to get them a car.
- Homes When your grandchildren grow older and express interest in moving out of their parents’ house, they might just move into a home built with a 3D printer. At present, there is already talk of using this technology for building homes, but there are still many issues that have to be solved.
- Electronics In this day and age, people still have to pay for their gadgets. If you want a mobile phone or a computer, you need to buy it. In 2050, things will be different. A 3D printer can print pretty much anything—including electronics. There will be no need to pay for the latest technology, because your grandchildren will be making it for you.
That's a pretty good list; we agree with most of it, but here's a few more ideas. And remember, 2050 is a Very Long Time away from today. There will be a great many radical developments by then:
- Jewelry. We're already seeing jewellers use 3D printers in their design work, why not have people print jewelry at home in sufficiently capable printers?
- Clothing. A 3D printer with sufficient resolution and material capability should be able to print various articles of clothing. Small articles, like gloves or shoes are a natural. Larger items will require "unfolding" when taken out of the build chamber.
- ExtraTerrestrial Items. Remote controlled 3D printers stationed on other planetary bodies could use local materials to print items for exploration, settlement or, ugh, advertising.
- Hair. Today hair is "sculpted" to the extremes by many people. But what if you had a printer that had sufficient resolution to print hair? We are staggered by the design and market possibilities of this one.
- Your Friends. It should be a very simple matter to use high resolution stereo cam data to capture 3D representations of your distant friends and print them out. Or, send yourself back to Mom for Christmas!
If you can imagine it, you have a chance of making it really happen.