Ok, this is it - 3D Printing is obsolete! No, we're just kidding. But it could come to pass eventually if the predictions of Intel CTO Justin Rattner come true.
ZDNET reports on his keynote address at the Intel Developer Forum, in which he discussed a concept called, "Programmable Matter":
The idea of programmable matter, he explained, revolves around tiny glass spheres with processing power and photovoltaic for generating electricity to run the tiny circuitry. These particles called catoms would move relative to one another via electrostatic.
The concept of programmable matter can be thought of as "the ultimate form of digital printing", Rattner told ZDNet Asia Wednesday in an interview. "You literally could make an object of any imaginable shape, or design an object of any imaginable shape, and simply 'hit the print command' and the matter would take that shape.
While this seems far fetched, Intel engineers have apparently already produced prototype "catoms" that are presently large-sized. Over time, we're pretty sure they'll be able to shrink these down as Intel has a teeny bit of experience in making very small things. And shrinking the device is not the only thing they'll have to figure out.