3D printers have been voted the best gadget launch of 2013 in a survey of 3,900 British gadget fans conducted by Gadget Show Live @ Christmas. Phenomenally, the technology took nearly a third (31 per cent) of the votes. Let’s look a little deeper into what is going on here, for as most 3DPI readers will know, ‘3D printers’ are far from new, and far from being one device.
1 3D printers 31%
2 Samsung Galaxy S4 22%
3 Sony 4K OLED TV 13%
4 Sony Xperia Z1 10%
5 Pebble 7%
6 Lenova Horizon Tablet 6%
7 Nvidia Project Shield 5%
8 Razer Blade Pro 3%
9 Fitbit Flex 2%
10 Ouya 1%
For a more realistic outlook, the context is not entirely fair: whilst the other top ten technologies were individual products, ‘3D printers’ are certainly a generic phenomena.
Why would the Gadget Show Live roll with this loose definition?
Perhaps because whether deemed as the new generic term for industrial and home additive manufacturing; or the third great way of making things after subtractive and moulding processes; or a few devices were specified encompassing MakerBot Replicator 2, 3D Systems’ Cube, FormLab’s Form 1, the first UltiMaker, 3Doodler 3D printing pen, the pending BotObjects’ ProDesk but would not have made the list individually; or a range of desktop technologies for making a range of objects by additive digital fabrication for purposes ranging from rapid prototyping to end product manufacture to serious maker tinkering to downright creative fun, the definitions vary across the media, and the population.
Right now, I’d agree with the loose definition – for most people… who cares!?
This is a technological phenomena that has caught the imagination and appreciation of gadget owners, enthusiasts and many more besides far beyond anything else this year.
So 2013 is the Year Of The 3D Printer, but no single brand is standing out as yet.