Adam S. Brooks

technologist / geek . entrepreneur . marketer . presenter / speaker . developer . consultant . innovator . educator . community advocate . author . adambrooks.org

Consumer Rapid Prototyping Will Create Next Wave of Entrepreneurs

Picture of the ORDbot Quantum 3D printer

Picture of the ORDbot Quantum 3D printer

So, I’ve had a few cups of coffee and decided to rant on 3D printing today.

The Creators Project just published an article “10 Insane Things You Didn’t Know 3D Printers Could Do” by Michelle Lhooq. This is one of several recent articles that have rekindled my excitement for this emerging consumer technology. No, it’s not new. Companies have been using rapid prototyping practices for 20-some years. What is new is the availability of this technology to a large new audience of empowered users. As with any new consumer technology (e.g. the Internet, desktop publishing, social media, nonlinear editing), the synergy comes from the unexpected consequences. We use technology for one thing, one specific solution, but often find that “crowd souring” reveals new opportunity.

I first saw rapid prototype printing in 1997. The vision promised for users is now becoming reality. New innovations take time to reach from industry to the consumer market but we’ll all soon be empowered “makers” of new physical products. As we’ve used computers to change business, communications and entertainment in the virtual world, we are going to rapidly enhance the physical world. Anyone will be able to design and build physical prototypes and solutions to common problems. This is sparking a new flood of patents and intellectual property. I am VERY excited to see this coming to fruition!

Desktop publishing changed the printing industry and niche media as we knew it. The Internet changed communications and business processes. Who will be most impacted by rapid prototyping? Manufacturers? Engineering?

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