Selecting the winner for my top 5 was actually easier than I thought.
1. Recycling – Yes, I know it’s a wide area to cover, and there were so many innovations around recycling 3DP applications during this year, such as many of the finalists in techfortrade’s 3D4D Challenge. My personal favourite of these was the winner — WOOF — with their idea of taking waste plastic and turning it into filament for 3D printing machines to create new products – brilliant! Another case that would fit well in this ideology was the case of fixing things with 3D printing that were previously considered unfixable.
As 3D printing technology develops, and more and more printable items are available, recycling should definitely be the one area to garner more attention, in order to save the world for future generations, help areas where there are less resources available, and, as a business, it wouldn’t be the worst area to be in. Can’t wait to see more competitions such as the 3D4D Challenge next year!
2. Medical – and especially orthopaedic applications, such as this one. As a former top athlete myself, I know exactly how painfully slow the processes for healing can sometimes be and to be able to reduce those times, and using 3D printing for improving people’s lives in that field is a major achievement.
The aging population is growing faster than ever and more and more services in this field will surely be needed in the future. I was highly doubtful when I first heard about Dr Atala and the 3D printed synthetic kidney. Although I still think it will take a long time before we are there, following the developments in this field is one of my favourite past times.
3. Protohouse – with applications within architecture such as protohouse, 3D printing is definitely pushing boundaries in terms of the way building structures are being designed and how they will be created in the future. It was the first time for me to see the selective laser sintering (SLS) process pushed to its limit. Protohouse was just incredible! Great job from Softskill Design and Materialise, who supplied the 3D printing service.
4. Headphone frames – consumer goods really took a leap forward during the past 12 months. We saw incredible innovations within this field of applications, but out of all of them, I found the development with 3D printed headphone frames really appealing as a music enthusiastic. Also the recent news on developing 3D printed electronic parts really points to the revolution that is coming.
5. InMoov Robotics – Ok, the catch in this one is not all 3D printing related, but what fascinates me with this one, is that the future is about combining technologies and ideas.
Happy New Year 2013 to everyone!