We have all heard the predictions about how crazy the world will be when nearly everyone has 3D printers. Instead of going to the store to purchase their everyday items, they will simply download them. I remember as a kid I would think of the future and how one day, if we were lucky enough, we would be able to have items ordered and shipped immediately, electronically. Although I never pictured the technology working in this manner, 3D printing may make this possible, and in fact sort of already does. Take for example Thingiverse, which allows anyone with a 3D printer to download a product design and print it out at home.
As the technology advances, we may begin to see major companies start to offer their designs for download, which could be printed out immediately from the comfort of your own home. Of course there would be a fee charged in exchange for the rights to the design.
Biz Stone, Twitter’s co-founder and the CEO of Jelly, a smartphone application Q&A Platform, believes that such technology will be so advanced within ten year that even Nike may turn into a “pure software company”. Earlier today he tweeted the following:
In ten years Nike could be a pure software company. We’ll just 3D print our sneakers. #crazyprediction
— Biz Stone (@biz) May 9, 2014
When Biz Stone Tweets, people tend to listen. After all, he knows a lot about technology, enough to make him worth an estimated $200 million. Stone’s prediction, whether he was half joking or completely serious, has a great chance of actually being accurate. Nike is probably the single most technologically advanced apparel and sneaker company there is on the planet. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars on R&D to make sure they have a technological edge in a very competitive market. If someone is going to be the first company to transform their business model to one out of a sci-fi novel, then they will be the one.
Eventually as printers become faster, more accurate, and cheaper, and solutions to intellectual property theft are discovered, this will be a reality for hundreds or even thousands of businesses around the globe. Software and design will trump manufacturing, freeing up capital for companies, while making our favorite products more affordable. Biz Stone may believe his tweet is a bit of a #crazyprediction, but it’s likely not so crazy after all. What do you think? Will Biz Stone’s tweet yesterday afternoon be one of those which he can say “I told you so” in 8-10 years? Let’s hear your opinions at the forum thread about this tweet at 3DPB.com
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