A 3D Printer in Every Home is Just Around the Corner? Maybe, but I’m Still Waiting for my Flying Car.

So 3D printing technology appears to be developing at warp speed.  We’re just years away from one is every home or business and a decade away from a Star Trek style replicator.  Or maybe not.  According to an industry consultant, Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates, only about 68,000 consumer printers have been sold.  That’s not an insignificant number, but a long way from being as common as a regular printer in every house.  I saw an article that talked about the commercialization and adoption of fuel cells.  You may remember that these were all the rage about 5 years ago from replacing batteries in electronics with them to running cars, but did you know this was also the case back in the 1960’s?  50 years ago industry trade magazines predicted they would be in military applications in a couple years and consumer applications a few years after that.  Not much has changed.  I also personally have worked in biofuels and widespread adoption of algae oil for diesel and cellulose for ethanol have also been “just around the corner” for about 10 years.  I don’t want to be a pessimist and there is indeed great progress being made, but we also all need to take a deep breath and realize not every possibility we see in Popular Mechanics will become commonplace reality.  No doubt the industrial side will be huge, but I’m still a bit of a skeptic of widespread adoption on the consumer side, however, I hope I’m wrong.  I hope in 20 years after a long day of work I park my flying car in Garage and print out the new iPhone 20 while watching my 4D TV, but even if we get 25% of what’s hypothesized the future still looks amazing.

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