November 15, 2012

3D printing: Can it help people in disasters?

solar-sinter-solar-powered-3d-printer-turns-sand-into-glass-ren.jpeg Imagine if after an earthquake you could airdrop machines that build houses in under a day. Imagine if you had cheap and accessible medical kits that could produce bespoke medicine on demand. Imagine if you could fabricate shoes, clothes, solar cells, lamps, toilets, pipes, water pumps, and just about anything else on site and at the touch of a button.

The scenario is still a fantasy, but could a process called 3D printing ever make it a reality? Could the technology ever make a significant impression on the humanitarian world? Ian Byrne reports for trust.org.

quotemarksright.jpg3D printing could make a huge difference to emergency responses, saving a fortune by printing things like tools, basic items and equipment on the ground from recycled materials, rather than flying them in from other countries,” said Steve Haines, mobilisation director for global campaigns at Save the Children International.

“The technology needs more work to make it reliable to use in these contexts, but the opportunities are endless.” quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from engadget.

Related: - 3D printer could build a house in 20 hours