3D Printing and emerging Opportunities

Electronics. Movies. Video games. Animations. Printers.
Oh, yes it’s a 3D world we live in today. But contrary to popular thought, 3D is a very old technology.In fact, 1953 marked the first major 3D movie with the release of Man in the Dark.Advancements in technology, however, have put 3D at the forefront of entertainment, taking it from a rare luxury to a mainstream accessory.Here’s a look at the 3D world and how it’s impacted the entertainment industry:



Movies:We’ve already told you about the first major 3D movie release. But now it seems like just about every movie, from a remastered version of Titanic to the new Amazing Spider-Man, are coming with 3D releases. The re-rise of 3D unofficially began at amusements parks in the early 2000s. Universal Studios featured a “Terminator 2” 3D short and Disney World did and still does feature short films in 3D for park guests. Then, motion pictures caught on. And audiences responded. Since Avatar (2010), 33 percent of all movies have been released in 3D. This statistic is highlighted by 2012’s The Avengers, which was the fastest-growing film to reach $1 billion worldwide. Yes, it was released in 3D.

Electronics:There’s the Nintendo DS, smart phones such as the HTC Evo 3D and video games that are being made in 3D. But the most significant advancement of consumer electronics and 3D has yet to become mainstream: TVs. Most major companies are shifting efforts toward developing 3D television sets, but the technology is still expensive and limited (viewers have to wear glasses and have to view the screen from a head-on position). As 3D televisions become more mainstream, we’re likely to see the the consumer electronics market boom even more.

Animations: 3D has also made design and development easier for product designers and engineers. Software programs such as Autodesk help designers and engineers create new products in 3D, allowing them to really see and analyze a particular part and product in a 3D virtual environment before development progresses to the prototyping and manufacturing stages. 3D animation is changing the speed and efficiency at which professionals design products, decreasing development times and putting products on store shelves sooner.

Printing: 3D printing is an additive fabrication technology that builds parts, layer-by-layer, from the ground up. 3D printing is a prototyping and short-run manufacturing technique that allows developers to test for form, fit and function before ordering a manufacturing run. While it speeds time to market in product development environments, it’s also a valuable tool for DIYers. For instance, many are building their own home-made 3D printers and creating decorative and personal parts for themselves. 3D printers are being made small enough now to fit onto a desktop. Open source 3D printers, such as those from MakerBot, cost as little as $2,000.

What does the future of 3D hold? Simple – a lot more! There’s a demand now for 3D, whether it’s for two hours of entertainment inside a movie theater or to speed design and development times of the latest and greatest product. And when there’s demand – there will be supply. Some of it will be received negatively, some of it will be received positively.

But one thing for certain is that there will be no shortage of it moving forward. Look for 3D televisions to become more popular and for video game manufacturers to develop consoles and games with 3D in mind in the years to come. And look for 3D technology as a whole (glasses-less, perhaps?) to improve as research and development continues to move forward. We live in a 3D world and this is only the tip of the iceberg of it.

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