The Industrial Revolution replaced muscle-power with machines and The Digital Revolution amplified the computational power of the human mind. Now a new wave of technologies promises to be the cause of a new revolution, combining and enhancing the best of both – from factories to houses, from buying objects to DIY.
This movement has been simmering for years, with new technologies transforming the traditional manufacturing concept. By far, the star of this movement is the 3D printer – which basically represents the digitalization of fabrication. 3D printing is flooding our daily lives the same way colour film did decades ago: 3D cinema, 3D TV, 3D games etc. As with every other transformation, this will affect commerce, industry, and the way that we all live.
This weekend I headed to the Science Museum to see an exhibition called “3D: printing the future”. The exhibition displays over 600 3D printed objects, including replacement body organs and aeroplane parts, all produced in a range of materials including nylon, titanium, and sandstone.
I was amazed with the artefact’s realism and the innovative nature of the new technology and I was forced to consider questions like: Is this the beginning of a new Industrial Revolution? If so, will it succeed as profoundly as the previous one?
Seeing how we can use 3D printers to turn computer data into physical objects was a fantastic spectacle. However, the greatest potential of 3D printing is yet to come… not just to see it, but to build it, print it and use it.
These advances would benefit not only human beings, allowing us to participate in the construction of our physical world, but could also help care for the environment by facilitating the production of lighter, even biodegradable materials. 3D printing is enabling engineers and designers to take advantage of the latest developments in construction. For example, they are now able to manufacture items they could never construct with traditional methods.
In today’s hectic world, people will demand new ways of experiencing art: to hear stories, interact with them and even create the content. 3D exhibitions might be the beginning of that transformation.
According to Liat Clark: “Museums of the future may be filled with 3D-printed replicas, green walls and sensory surfaces. Museums in the digital age will exhibit everywhere with immersive augmented reality experiences, transforming traditional rooms into virtual.”
3D: printing the future is a free exhibition and it is running in the Antenna gallery at the Science Museum for 9 months. If you are interested in how 3D printing will shape the future I wouldn’t miss it!