Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .

3-D printing technology transforms dentistry, real estate and more
by Brooks Hays
Washington (UPI) May 19, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

It wouldn't be an understatement to say the Internet has changed everything. But what's next?

Some -- economists, journalists, human scientists and others -- say our future lies 3-D printers, a technology that's been described as "the biggest upheaval in manufacturing since the industrial revolution."

As the Internet matures, it will continue to define the 21st century, of course. Humans, after all, are living in the Age of Big Data -- an age in which massive amounts of information are collected and recorded, and giant, supremely sophisticated computers able to sort and study said data. Everything is smart: smart phones, smart cars, smart houses and more.

But more so than artificial intelligence and Google, some scientists think 3-D printers -- the new machines that take all this data and turn into tangible materials and usable products -- will be even more revolutionary.

Three-dimensional printers can make a 3-D object, of almost any shape, using a digital model; although many basic 3-D printers use plastic, printers have been designed to build objects out a full range of materials, including metals, concrete, fabrics and more.

Already, in China, 3-D printers have begun building houses. Earlier this year, WinSun, a private firm, used giant three-dimensional printers to build the walls of houses, spraying, layer-by-layer, a mixture of cement and construction waste. Using the printers, the walls of 10 single-story houses were built and erected in a single day. The reduction in labor and material costs make such houses exceptionally affordable, as $5,000 each.

"We can print buildings to any digital design our customers bring us," WinSun CEO Ma Yihe said. "It's fast and cheap."

Early in the evolution of this game-changing technology, 3-D printers have demonstrated a knack for the grand and the minute. The technology can build not just the giant walls of houses, but also tiny computer chips. As usual, technology begets more technology.

Perhaps most impressive -- and promising -- is the technology's foray into healthcare. Three-dimensional printers have helped advance the fields of prosthetics, stem cells and dentistry, just to name a few.

At the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute at Wollongong University in New South Wales, researchers are mixing seaweed extracts with human stem cells to build new living components for patients.

"We're looking at extracts from seaweed that can actually form the structural component of 3D printed parts that we're using in studies for nerve, muscle, bone and cartilage regeneration," the institute's director, Professor Gordon Wallace, explained. "We really are just scratching the surface at the moment."

In South Shreveport, Louisiana, dentists are using 3-D imaging and printing technology to print new porcelain teeth and dental implants.

"South Shreveport Dental is making the process of crowns a lot easier for patients with revolutionary technology called the CEREC by Sirona," explained Dr. Andrew Simpson. "The CEREC is a 3D intra-oral camera that sends a live color video feed to a computer where data is saved and transformed into a virtual crown making a single visit crown possible for patients."

Patients can have a crown, veneer, or onlay made in a single visit to the dentist's office. Dr. Simpson at South Shreveport Dental noted, "Technology's progress is helping us to address the needs of patients faster and more accurately than ever before."

Some suggest the 3-D printer signals the end of shopping. Why go to the mall, when you can print whatever you want or need right in the comfort of your own home?

The technology is currently too expensive for it proliferate into middle class homes, as the Internet has, but a time may come (not far from now) when 3-D printers aren't just the purview of tech companies and medical research -- but a way to avoid a trip to the store.


Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

3D printer cleared for lift-off to ISS in August
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Jun 16, 2014
NASA has cleared a 3D printer for launch to the International Space Station in August. The decision follows trials at Marshall Space Flight Center in the state of Alabama. The printer was developed by California start-up Made in Space. "NASA was able to provide key guidance on how to best comply with strenuous space certification, safety and operational requirements, and Made in Space exce ... read more

Nasa readies satellite to measure atmospheric CO2

Russian Soyuz-2.1b rocket to undergo final testing

Lie detector exposes sabotage of Proton-M booster

Move fast on rocket choice, Europe space chief says

Discovery of Earth's Northernmost Perennial Spring

US Congress and Obama administration face obstacles in Mars 2030 project

Opportunity Recovering From Flash Memory Problems

Rover Corrects its Spacecraft Clock

55-year old dark side of the moon mystery solved

New evidence supporting moon formation via collision of 2 planets

NASA Missions Let Scientists See Moon's Dancing Tide From Orbit

Earth's gravitational pull stretches moon surface

Hubble Begins Search Beyond Pluto For Potential Flyby Targets

Cracks in Pluto's Moon Could Indicate it Once Had an Underground Ocean

Assessing Pluto from Afar

Dwarf planet 'Biden' identified in an unlikely region of our solar system

Kepler space telescope ready to start new hunt for exoplanets

Astronomers Confounded By Massive Rocky World

Two planets orbit nearby ancient star

First light for SPHERE exoplanet imager

Why We Need Rocket Engines

NASA again delays flying saucer test

Orion Ready To Feel The Heat

Airbus's SpacePlane demonstrator tested in South China Sea

Chinese lunar rover alive but weak

China's Jade Rabbit moon rover 'alive but struggling'

Chinese space team survives on worm diet for 105 days

Moon rover Yutu comes closer to public

Giant Telescopes Pair Up to Image Near-Earth Asteroid

NASA Instruments on Rosetta Start Comet Science

Asteroid Discovered by NASA to Pass Earth Safely

Massive Beast asteroid to have close call with Earth

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.