3D printing is a manufacturing process where a real object is created from a virtual model. A system is used where layer after layer of material is added together, to form a physical product, with exactly the same specifications as the 3D computer model.
This design file is cut up into sections and sent to the printer, which then melts down a material (generally using a laser) and applies it layer by layer, resulting in the finished object. Materials available for this process vary widely and include plastic, metal, stone, and rubber.
This technology has created major advancements in the manufacturing industry. If a company wanted to begin production of a new product, they would often require a prototype to show to customers and investors.
These prototypes could be made from plastic, wood, metal or a range of other materials, however, the issue is that it takes an expert team a while to create one.
With 3D printing, one person can create a virtual model and send it straight to the printer. This helps speed up the development process and will also drastically reducing its cost.
3D printing has also led to many opportunities for the dental profession. The creation of dental implants is extremely challenging for dentists.
Every patient’s mouth has a different structure, which can lead to a lot of guess work during their creation.
3D printing is already in use by dentists, but not yet for dental implants. Many dentists and scientists believe that its application would allow for the precision necessary to create the perfect implant for every mouth.
2. Autonomous Vehicles
Self-driving vehicles hold a lot of opportunities for the future. Many companies have already tested autonomous vehicles extensively.
It can be argued that with the right technology that they are safer drivers than humans. They cannot get distracted, have a myriad of sensor systems, and will never speed or break the law.
This is not to say they will never crash as demonstrated by Google’s self-driving cars, however, the chances are very low.
This technology is leading the way in changing the logistics and supply chain sectors. Trucking fleets could be created with this technology, allowing companies to move their goods without human drivers.
Some companies have already created prototypes, and it is possible that trucks will be the first type of vehicle to experience widespread automation.
With the need for an actual driver done away with, there is not much point leaving cars in a garage or car park while you are at work or asleep.
They could be hired out by owners as a taxi alternative. This would result in fewer cars per person being needed. It would also free up parking space in congested areas. This is likely to result in the creation of new carpooling and peer-to-peer carsharing technology.
3. Computer Hard Drives
Computer hard drives have been around for decades, but with ever-changing forms. They are no longer the size of a refrigerator, but rather fit in the palm of your hand.
However, technological advancements are leading to the development of even more amazing data storage systems.
Helium drives have recently entered the marketplace. Helium’s lower air resistance causes less energy to be required to spin the drive’s disks, resulting in lower operational temperatures.
They also have more available disk space, resulting in higher storage capacities. This will allow hard drives to continue to get smaller while having even greater storage.
Even more impressive is DNA storage. Yes, you heard correctly: it is now possible to store digital information within DNA.
However, this technology is in its infancy, and will not be converted into a consumer product anytime soon. Still, it is a strong indication of the amazing advances that are occurring in data storage technology.
3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and the computer hard drives are fantastic inventions of modern times. No one is completely sure what the future holds, but with these technological advances leading the way, there is sure to be more amazing developments on the horizon.