Microsoft is equipping the next iteration of its computing standard operating system, Windows 8.1, with a new API: native support for 3D printers. As part of its ongoing unveiling of Windows 8.1, Microsoft announced that the upcoming update will come with device-specific APIs for not only scanners and point-of-service devices, but 3D printers as well.
It could therefore be a valid suggestion that Microsoft is looking to future-proof, or recognise 3D printing in Windows 8 as a functional basic akin to 2D printing. Regardless of speculation, by building 3D printing support into Windows, Microsoft is certainly giving the technology its vote of acceptance. Insomuch as it is publicly accepting that the technology is there.
It could be possible to extrapolate further. There’s biometric sensor support going in there too, and other new features that contextualise this as something related to Microsoft’s overall software progression, rather than a niche API plug for a single potentially pending new development. It could be a vote of confidence in 3D printing as a whole.
Investment and development potential is growing in the sector, and further to the buzz surrounding the MakerBot acquisition, 3D printing continues to be the one to watch at the moment.