Jan 30, 2016 | By Andre

The phrase “the third industrial revolution” as a means to describe the impact 3D printing will have on the world has been tossed around for quite a while now. The story goes that the mechanization of the textile industry got things rolling with the first industrial revolution prior to the ushering in of the second industrial revolution via Henry Ford's assembly line. 3D Printing, a technology that focuses on a collaborative and digitally inspired small-scale approach to manufacturing is arguably driving the third industrial revolution in these early, frontier days.

At this year’s World Economic Forum, held annually in Davos, Switzerland, there has been talk of taking things one step further even still. In her featured essay, renowned architect and designer Neri Oxman introduces the a philosophy that would shift the scope on what we should strive for. In opposition to the World-as-Machine paradigm we’ve been used to since industrialization and mass-production first took hold, she hopes to instil the idea of “a living quality into objects, buildings, and cities.”

By using modern technology like 3D printing in our digital age, Oxman believes a fourth industrial revolution, what she calls the biological age, is fast approaching. Examples of what she means include the notion that microorganisms can now mimic mimic factories by converting biomass to useful bio-products useful for clothing, construction materials and transportation; how E.coli can be converted into sugar, grass into diesel and corn into plastic.

Throughout her essay, Oxman approaches the biological age holistically by suggesting a need for material ecology. This means a world that prioritizes computational design, digital fabrication, synthetic biology, the environment, and material itself as being one with the manufacturing process.

She writes of “photosynthetic building façades that convert carbon into biofuel; wearable micro-biomes that nourish our skin through selective filtration; 3D printed matter that repairs damaged tissue." And further that in "the Biological Age, designers and builders are empowered to dream up new, dynamic design possibilities, where products and structures will be able to grow, heal, and adapt.”

Her ambition to push forward a world-philosophy that is based around mimicking and coexisting with nature with the help of modern technology has definitely been felt in the 3D printing universe so its no surprise Oxman mentioned the technology as a cornerstone in her philosophy.

The idea of creating physical things using synthetic biology, computational design and 3D printing instead of mining for them isn’t lost on her. In another recent article, Oxman writes that “new research at the intersection of 3D printing and synthetic biology will start to yield some striking creations: photosynthetic building façades that convert carbon into biofuel, wearable microbiomes and 3D-printed contraptions for repairing damaged tissue.

This novel approach to using modern technology as a means to reimagine our future away from the mechanical, gear driven world and into a more organic one is nothing new to Oxman. She has been involved in 3D printed buildings, organic inspired art and furniture for quite some time. Additionally, she isn’t alone in her quest change our perception on the world we live in. Stories of 3D bio-printing a nature inspired 4D Printing have been making news for years now.

While it is still to be determined if we’ll one day live in a world that mirrors more closely Mother Nature’s offerings without sacrificing our own accomplishments, the technology innovations in 3D printing and similar game-changing technologies might make it possible. The fact that Oxman was able to present her ideas at the World Economic Forum has at the very least granted her a stage in which the whole world can listen.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Eduardo wrote at 1/31/2016 5:48:33 PM:


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