3-D printing is a process in which a machine creates a 3-D object from a digital file of it. This can be achieved by either creating the object from scratch using computer programs or by digitizing a real life object and using the digital model to recreate a 3-D printed version of it. The printer createa the product later by layer with such precision and accuracy that the layers are not noticeable to the naked eye and the object is whole and solid.
3-D printing has many uses, a lot of which have great entertainment value. People have used 3-D printing for personal goods such as decorations, replicas, or models of real objects. It is viewed as a commodity because of its new and exciting technology; therefore, people will pay large sums of money to use a 3-D printer to make something they could easily buy in a store for a much lesser price. Despite its expensive nature, the wealthy have found creative ways to maximize its uses.
However, in my opinion, the creation or discovery of the process of 3-D printing by humans is so advanced that perhaps they cannot imagine the limitless nature of its implications. Humans have not yet scratched the surface of what it could be used for and the greater purposes of its technology to benefit society. Aside from the recreational uses of 3-D printing, there are many practical uses that I can see emerging from it.
Currently, medical companies have begun to research the possibility of creating 3-D printed tissue. Though they have only been able to achieve very small tissue, they hope to one day create whole organs through 3-D printing. 3-D printing itself is not a copyrightable process, and in fact there are different processes to achieve 3-D printing. Subsequently, if different medical companies invested in creating specific brands of 3-D printed organs, which they could indeed copyright, there would be a higher supply of these organs which would allow the prices to be lower as there would be more resources and therefore more organs on the market which would allow them to be more accessible for the public.
The limitations of these visions are that the process remains very expensive and, especially for medical purposes, people question the ethical implications. However, as the need for precision beyond human error increases in the medical field and other fields of technology where assembly of small parts is essential, 3-D printing could be one answer to prevent making such errors. In the medical field, it could be used to create a supply of organs in which the current supply is very limited. Indeed, perhaps leaving the job of assembly and production to machines rather than humans would result in more consistent products; and humans would be left with the task of innovation.