Years ago, when home computers were first launched, it was almost unimaginable that so many households would own one. Yet, over the decades, penetration of home computers has steadily increased in all parts of the world, albeit at different rates.
The story with mobile phones is even more amazing, considering that even emerging countries like India have seen a veritable explosion in mobile phone penetration.
In developed countries, many families own a printer; of course, as in most other countries, there is also a well-established market for printing services. Now that 3D printers have been launched, it will be interesting to see how this market takes shape.
One of the many interesting gadgets unveiled at CES 2012 was Cubify’s Cube 3D printer. Cubify is a division of 3D Systems, the company that invented stereolithography. 3D printing occurs using ABS plastic sheets that are just 0.125 mm thick. The Cube can “print” an object of a few inches by a few inches by about a quarter of an inch thick in about 45 minutes.
At this time, it’s hard to imagine every home acquiring one of these printers. There are also questions about how “green” 3D printing as a concept is, considering that plastic is not the most environment friendly material. Of course, bio-degradable plastic may alleviate those concerns.