3D Printing: A New Technology Brings New Possibilities

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At Future Point of View, we love trying out new technologies.

As a proud American, my first 3D printed object was Lady Liberty.

As a proud American, my first 3D printed object was Lady Liberty.

So we recently invested in a 3D printer. Austin Klososky, Digital Marketing Coordinator and 3D Printing Guru has been taking our requests for objects we want printed.

3D printing has been a major topic of conversation around the office. Our founder Scott Klososky recently gave a speech on the subject at the 2016 RIMS Conference. We’ve had our eye out for interesting uses; like this one from the L.A. Dodgers.


Batter Up!

I came across this in a Business Insider article. The Los Angeles Dodgers recently used 3D printing to spruce up their batting helmets. Paul Lukas of ESPN was the first to report on the new helmets and spoke with the Dodgers about the inspiration and the design. The team told Lukas that the logos were created MLB Helmet 1using a 3-D printer, and the nose bumpers that currently exist on football helmets (the small logo at the top of the facemask) gave them the idea.

[Dodgers chief marketing officer Lon Rosen] loves for us to be the first to do things, but he didn’t realize that other teams had already gone with the matte,” Ross Yoshida, the Dodgers’ director of graphic design told Lukas. “I said, ‘Lon, the Diamondbacks and Pirates have already done that. But we could do something new with the logo.’ Then I thought about football helmet nose bumpers. Nobody had ever done that in baseball. So that was the inspiration.”


Funeral Home Innovations

Here’s another interesting use of 3D printing; funeral homes in China are using printers to generate body parts to prepare a body for a memorial service.

As the Huffington Post recently posted:

The 3D printing repair service within Longhua Funeral Parlor involves building multiple layers of material on top of each other to construct a three-dimensional product, Chinese state-funded news site The Paper noted. A combination of 3D printing, hair implants, and makeup will be able to reconstruct faces with a Funeral Homesimilarity of at least 95 percent. Damaged body parts and destroyed bone structures may be a result of deaths from natural disasters, traffic and industrial accidents, the outlet reported.

“It is difficult for relatives to see incomplete faces or bodies of their loved ones when they attend memorial services, and makeup cannot always sufficiently repair them,” Liu Fengming, director of Shanghai’s funeral services center, told Shanghai Daily. People can also use the technology to make the corpses of their loved ones appear younger or better-looking, Liu added.


Brace Yourself!

The application of this new technology will go as far as your mind is willing to take you. Businesses are obviously trying to take advantage, so are individuals. One industrious student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology is making headlines for straightening his teeth with corrective retainers that he designed and printed using a 3D printer at his school.

3dprint5

 

This CNN article points out the piece to this story that probably has large orthodontic companies sweating bullets:

Name brand options for clear braces can cost up to $8,000, according to companies like Invisalign, Damon, and ClearCorrect. But the 24-year-old wanted to save money, so he found a way to manufacture his own for less than $60.

The total cost is so low because he only had to pay for materials used to make the models of his teeth and the 3dprint6retainers. Even though he built his own 3D printer at home, he opted to use a high-end and more precise 3D printer at his school, New Jersey Institute of Technology.

He used NJIT’s equipment to scan and print models of his teeth, and mold non-toxic plastic around them to form the set of 12 clear braces.

Dudley determined out how far he needed to move his teeth to correct the misalignment problems. Then divided it by the maximum recommended distance a tooth should travel to determine the design for each alignment tray. Orthodontists use a similar process.

Researching the materials he needed and figuring out how teeth move was the most difficult part of Dudley’s orthodontic adventure.

The most exciting was when he finally put the first aligner in his mouth.

“It was very obvious which tooth [the tray] was putting pressure on,” he said. “I was sort of worried about accumulated error, but that wasn’t the case so that was a pretty glorious moment.”

Glorious, indeed. Somebody hire that kid already. Amos, you’re welcome to join FPOV whenever you want.

The companies mentioned in the CNN article (Invisalign, Damon and ClearConnect) have probably put some thought into Amos Dudley’s DIY orthodontic work. From a business model standpoint, they should be thinking through what happens when 3D printers are more readily available and someone like Amos designs software that others can easily use to do the same thing he did at a similarly low price.


At Future Point of View, we talk about the ability of a leader or business to anticipate the disruptive nature of new technologies as applying high beam vision. High beam vision requires a few things:

1 – An understanding of how your market will evolve over the next five to ten years; customer expectations, product development, etc.

2 – Knowledge of new technology emerging inside and outside of your industry and different ways it is being applied.

3 – Combining the uses of emerging technologies to anticipate disruptions they could create in your industry (think: mobile device + digital camera = no more Kodak, or internet streaming bandwidth + inventory of movies available online = no more Blockbuster)

Future Point of View has developed a very specific process to analyze technology, industry, and economic forces to and apply high beam vision methodically as opposed to gut instinct from leaders. As hinted at above, there’s a long list of examples of companies that might have relied too heavily on gut instinct for anticipating future market needs.

If your interested in learning more about high beam vision in your organization, we have an educational course devoted to developing that specific skill.  We’ve got one coming up, and we would love for you to attend. You can learn more about the course or register for it here.

About the Author

Matt

Matt Stafford is devoted to helping organizations harness the nuances of change taking place in the world around us. His unique set of experiences include everything from covering American presidents as a television journalist to helping develop technology strategies for companies in a diverse range of industries. Messaging, vision, and context are critical for both storytelling and maturing business strategy. Matt helps teams in different parts of an organization speak the same language, fostering cooperation and teamwork. He specializes in relationship mapping, content marketing, audience development, customer care, governance, and strategy development.

2016-10-30T06:07:47+00:00