We've mentioned before that 3D printing is revolutionizing home construction. The technology has freed architects from the restraints of a building's size and shape, and given those constructing buildings a wider range of reliable materials. But it's important not to forget everything that goes into a home. Here are a few ways innovators are looking to improve and exploit 3D printer technology in the home.
Lukas Oehmigen grew up behind the Iron Curtain learning that there were no such things as personal possessions. He also thought that architecture needed to be cold and sterile, prioritizing rudimentary functionality over eye-catching design. But once the budding young architect made his way to art school in the West, he was finally able to combine his practicality with a newfound sense of style. He also discovered a new state-of-the-art technology.
Oehmigen and a crew of architects created the BigRep, a large scale 3D printer designed to print entire pieces of furniture. As shown in the video above, the BigRep creates entire furniture pieces from its large-scale maker, and emphasizes environmentally friendly materials that cut down on waste. The process of using a BigRep is far from perfect, with the average piece taking as long as five days to print completely. Still, Oehmigen is confident that his machine can one day be used in large-scale construction of cars and houses. "These probably won't look like your ordinary car or house, though," he warns.
Lock and Key
The art of picking locks and forging access to restricted areas extends back nearly as far as human civilization itself. The difficult process of trying to break in hasn't stopped potential burglars from trying. Unfortunately, the world's fastest-growing technology has made their jobs easier. Two researchers at the University of Michigan have created an app that allows anyone in the world to make 3D printed copies of "Do Not Duplicate" keys.
Although the researchers claim that the purpose of the publicly available app, named Keyforge, is to prove the ineffectiveness of traditional locks, it allows any key to be copied with any consumer 3D printer. No statements have yet been made by law enforcement regarding the app, but the research paper can be read in full at the site linked to above. As with the debate over 3D printed firearms, the debate over 3D printed keys proves that technological advances will always be accompanied by serious ethical questions.