February 1, 2013
A Universe of Things: Down the 3-D Printing Rabbit Hole
Once you start down the path of considering the 3-D printer’s evolution — and even more so, that of the bioprinter — you get irrevocably lost in a forest of dystopian/utopian possible outcomes. Grantland reports on the stranger side of 3D printing.
... Forbes doesn’t know (see number eight) what “new products” with “magical properties” will be made available by way of 3-D printers, and neither do we. This is the appeal. Right now, the focus is on the technology more than it is on its output — guitar pick holders, salt and pepper shakers.
Some of the copy accompanying these things (and tests for things) seems to acknowledge the bizarre nature of whatever object is being hawked: a life mask of Abe Lincoln, disembodied and sleepy-looking, is described with a disclaimer that “We have no reason to believe it is real or not.”
As 3D printers evolve so do their torture tests ensuring our perpetual disappointment.” On a very small scale, and in a sort of fun way, flipping through the 3-D printed marketplace is like browsing other people's god complexes.
What this technology can do, and does do, is offer us a glimpse of the horizon from our rocking chairs on the nursing home porch: It belongs to the future.
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