Now that the 3-D printing industry has its own expo at the Javits Center, people of the future are sure to have a variety of 3-D printed objects and may even have body parts made on such a printer. NY1's Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.
The field of 3-D printing has grown so big it now has its own conference and expo in Manhattan's Javits Center. From printed guitars to bicycle helmets, the expo shows new uses for 3-D printing and allows developers to share ideas and collaborate.
"3-D printing is one of the great new paradigm shifts we've seen in the last 15-20 years, almost the equivalent of or maybe the same as the coming of the Internet," says Alan Meckler, an organizer from WebMediaBrands. "We have lots of examples of different people here from fashion, from food, from traditional manufacturing and many others."
With 3-D printing comes some possibility for bad, like the potential to create harder-to-detect weapons, and good, like the potential to create new body parts.
Lawrence Bonassar of Cornell University is trying to aid the cause of medicine.
"Our work focuses on replacing all different kinds of cartilage but this includes all kinds, like articulate cartilage, tracheal cartilage, nose cartilage, basically anywhere in the body we find cartilage," says Bonassar. "In theory we can use this technique for other types of tissue like bone or muscle."
Another indication of how mature and diverse this field of 3-D printing has become, is how the Mcor Technologies 3-D printer actually uses paper to create its objects. Creators insist their creations are more environmentally friendly and also have the potential to be more colorful than what most competitors can produce.
"We basically take that layered paper, use a water-based adhesive, compress those layers together. So we get a very tough and durable part," says Conor MacCormick of Mcor Technologies. "People have a misconception that the parts are either going to be papier-mache or some sort of origami, but actually it's a very, very tough object."
Developers also hope by making the material easily acquired paper from any store, which will help speed up bringing 3-D printing to the masses.