3D Printing, There is an App for That
There is no denying the fact that 3D printing is mighty cool. A 3D printer made for mass consumption even made it onto the list of our top 100 products for 2011. And while the fabrication process has been available to engineers in labs to construct mock-ups of new products, the service is now made available to the masses on a wider and cheaper scale.
French company Sculpteo, which specializes in additive manufacturing, has released an application for smartphones that lets you produce usable, ceramic object from photos that you snap. Pictures taken in profile with your phone camera can be sent to a cloud engine, and then converted into either a coffee mug or a vase using the rotational volume of the profile. The limitation of objects that can be made is based on the fact that end-users will not be able to send detailed models of the object they want fabricated.
While the consumer side might be a bit gimmicky, Sculpteo offers more extensive services for small and medium businesses. CAD drawing and models can also be handled by the cloud engine, allowing for more complex shapes and designed to be manufactured. Those with the entrepreneurial spirit can get their products 3D printed and proceed to sell them via their own websites and portals.