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Chances are you’ve heard about 3D printing – or additive manufacturing as it’s otherwise known: a process that turns computer-aided designs into three-dimensional, real-world objects with a range of uses, from a range of materials and on a range of scales. But you’ve probably heard little in terms of the social impact that 3D printing and its associated technologies will likely have. Those possible impacts are exactly what we’re investigating at Lancaster University and the University of Wollongong. We’ve identified four potential scenarios that could eventuate in a world that embraces 3D printing and, crucially, how those scenarios could affect everyday life.
Birtchnell, T. & Urry, J. (2012). Four visions, three dimensions: the future of 3D printing. The Converstation, 29 November 1-4.