Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International, predicted that 3D printers will be in every home within a decade.
"I think every home within 10 years, probably less than that, will have its own 3D printer, just as many homes now have a 2D or laser printer," said Bird on the first day of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, an annual three-day event in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Bird said that the technology would "revolutionize" the way the world works, and the technology has always been used in the media and entertainment industries. He added that Disney was already looking at ways to utilize the technology in its theme parks.
In 2012, Disney World launched the "Carbon Freeze-Me" that let visitors to the Star Wars Weekends to get a chance to try the coolest use for 3D printing technology and relive the famous carbon freezing scene from The Empire Strikes Back. In this year's 'Star Wars' weekend Disney offered visitors the chance to put their face on a 3D-printed Stormtrooper figurine.
"We'll be working with technology where we can easily capture the facial features of every guest... and put it on to dolls," Bird said on the Abu Dhabi Media Summit. Disney's D-Tech Me experience helped push ordinary girls to become princesses with help of photo cameras, 3D scanners and 3D printers. Girls can choose one of seven different Disney Princesses including Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White and Tiana and hair, skin and eye color of the figurine.
The tech being used by Disney isn't anything groundbreaking, but the real innovation is how Disney is using the technology, by bringing the process to the over 17 million visitors to Disney World every year. Those kids and their parents, who have not heard about 3D printing could experience and see the technology for the first time.
Disney Research has now six offices across the world, and it releases continuously commercial projects and academic papers showing how they apply emergent technologies to engineer specific experiences for their customers. Some cool researches include software that lets you create and 3D print mechanical toys; image algorithm that turns 2D photos into a 3D model; a new method that enables users to feel virtual objects, experience dynamically varying textures; and a new printed optics technology, "Papillion" for 3D printing highly expressive animated eyes for interactive characters, robots and toys, etc.
These efforts help to increase the public awareness of the new technology. 3D printing has now captured the attention of a vast array of makers, designers and common people and it has been increasingly adopted in all area. "For the average American consumer, 3D printing is ready for showtime," said Michigan Tech researcher Joshua Pearce.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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