Report: 3D Printing has greater potential than Genome Editing, Augmented Reality

A new report by Lux Research ranks 3D printing as one of the most important technologies to watch in 2018.

Andrew Stockwell, Senior VP of Research, Product & Operations at Lux said, “We looked at traditional industry approaches to predicting technology innovations to watch, and they were all based on intuition, surveys of industry executives, news sources, or other lagging indicators – we knew there had to be a better way.”

This better way involves posing the question, “What technologies have the greatest potential to transform the world over the next decade?” to Lux analysts and by using the “Lux Intelligence Engine (LuxIE) data platform”.

The process uses the Lux Tech Signal. This a number that uses data from patents, academic papers, and funding, plus additional undisclosed data. The Lux Tech Signal, “quantifies the progress of each technology, against a maximum innovation interest score of 100”.

And by these metrics, 3D Printing is in rude health, ranked second on the list of 18, beaten only by Machine Learning and Deep Neural Networks.

The Lux Tech Signal methodology. Image via Lux Research.
The Lux Tech Signal methodology. Image via Lux Research.

“The current rock stars of innovation”

Overlooking the distinct lack of guitars, ripped jeans and smashed TVs at most 3D printing events – the Boston based research group includes 3D printing, 5G networks (#4) and smartwatches (#9) as innovation rockstars. Mike Holman, VP Intelligence at Lux Research, said “these technologies have been rising stratospherically during the past few years and demonstrate substance. A strategy for each of these technologies is a must-have for any company in relevant industries – but beware of strong competition and the risk of inflated expectations.”

In the report Lux writes, “3D printing has the potential to produce parts that are better, cheaper, and that have a lower environmental footprint. Although 3D printing was once limited to prototyping and tooling, it is now increasingly making end-use parts and products, thanks to better materials, hardware, software, and business models.”

3D printing forecasts

Forecasting a $20 billion market by 2025, “We also expect to see more FAA- or FDA-approved 3D printable materials, and more integrated offerings from material suppliers,” writes the provider of research and advisory services. Other 3D printing industry analysts give forecasts ranging from $20 billion to as high as $40 billion by 2020.

An extract from the Lux Research 18 in 2018 report. Image via Lux Research.
An extract from the Lux Research 18 in 2018 report. Image via Lux Research.

The most important technologies to watch in 2018

The executive summary from the Lux Report gives ranks of the most important technologies to watch, given their potential to transform the world in the next decade as follows:

1 Machine Learning and Deep Neural Networks. 30% annual increase in machine learning patents.

2 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing. Lux expects 3D printing to be a $20 billion market by 2025.

3 Genome Editing $1.2 billion in VC funding to impact industries from food to health care.

4 5G Networks Over 70,000 patents set the stage for 5G network launches in 2018.

5 Microbiome Harnessing the power of microbes for nutrition, agriculture, and more.

6 Solid-state Batteries Safer and better batteries, pursued by start-ups and giants like Toyota.

7 Synthetic Biology A recent $275 million round for Ginkgo Bioworks highlights the potential.

8 Augmented Reality (AR) Enterprise applications are coming now, on heels of $4.4 billion in funding.

9 Smartwatches Patents soar from near zero to over 23,000 in less than five years.

10 Wireless Charging Here now for consumer electronics, with R&D pushing for EV uses.

11 Materials Informatics Using IT and AI to break out of slow material development cycles.

12 IoT Security Patents are up 13x as connected devices proliferate.

13 Edge Computing. When milliseconds matter, analytics can be local, not in the cloud.

14 Energy Distribution System Monitoring Growing demand and renewables require tech to balance the grid.

15 Polyethylene Furanoate (PEF) Innovation has grown at an 87% annual rate to improve on PET.

16 Sugar Reduction Over 162,000 patents to combat health ills from too much sugar.

17 Neural Interfaces Tech to read and stimulate the brain will see growing validation in 2018.

18 Syngas and Power-to-Gas Producing fuels from CO2 to drive the energy transition.

The full report can be requested from Lux Research.

For for all the latest 3D printing news and analysis, subscribe to our free 3D Printing Industry newsletter, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Who the enterprises leading the additive manufacturing industry? Make your nominations for the 3D Printing Industry Awards 2018 now.