With 3D printers growing in size, and plans afoot to replicate skin tissue and organs, this technology is set to spring more surprises
Across the globe, 3D printing has become an almost magical reality. If you fancy a nine-course meal ‘printed’ on order — accompanied by printed cutlery and furniture (and virtual reality headsets that play music composed by an artificial intelligence computer) — London-based restaurant, Food Ink, can do it at one of their pop-ups (check foodink.io for their schedule). Last year also saw NASA printing and testing a rocket engine, and the unveiling of a 40-foot, 3D-printed concrete pedestrian bridge in Alcobendas, Spain. With everything from clothes and guitars to wedding cakes getting the 3D treatment, nothing is impossible, it seems.
However, the technology that has been widely-accepted in the West, is still in the process of making inroads in India. “There are a lot of misconceptions about what can and cannot be done with 3D,” says Tanmay Shah, Head-Innovations at Imaginarium, the Mumbai-based 3D printing company, adding that the Indian market needs to be familiarised with the process to make it more mainstream. One of their solutions is TimeTo3D, a printing café in Ville Parle that they co-founded two months ago. Aimed at everyone from designers to doodlers and homemakers, it organises workshops and, for more complex projects, sessions with professionals at the company. “Right now, we’re only chipping at the tip of the iceberg; the potential is huge once this knowledge gap is bridged. Already, we’ve had people walk in to find out how they can use 3D to innovate in their businesses,” shares Shah.