A crowd of people gathered at Bemidji State University yesterday to get a glimpse into the future.
The 360 Center of Excellence at BSU hosted a demonstration for 3D printing. 3D printing is a technology that lays materials in precise patterns to build a three dimensional object.
Mike Connell, a participant at the demonstration, said, “I was blown away by all the many ideas that are out there for the use of 3D printing.”
The technology was first developed for manufacturing use, but has started to revolutionize work for entrepreuers and artists. This is achieved by making things accessible for people so that they can create a produce that they might not have the experience to make or the means to take it to a big retailer.
Now, the technology has expanded into printing clothes, jewelry, medical equipment, and even food. “Medical’s a great application for 3D printing,” said Karen White, the executive director of 360 Center of Excellence at BSU. She continued, “You can customize with 3D printing so you can produce the prosthetic or implanted device specific for that patient.”
Other participants at the demonstration said the technology is simply amazing. “If you look at just five years ago, the printers were like $20,000. Now, next time a Staples commercial comes on, they talk about paper clips and 3D printers.”
Jeremy Leffelman, the assistant director of 360 Center of Excellence, says the technology is going to continue to advance. “They’re going to print more materials and test the laws of physics,” he said.
3D printing is still not considered mainstream, but it is working towards that goal for the future.