I always believed that casting a glance at small companies' stand at large conferences and events is more lucrative and interesting than the detailed analysis of another big name product presentation.
CES 2012 has proved that there's something in that point of view. The last Microsoft appearance on CES was more than disappointing: I forgot what it was about the next day after it took place.
The day was saved by small niche-companies, which presented their new products. To my mind, the most impressive thing of the whole CES was two new 3-D printers, presented by two different manufacturers.
The first one is the so-called 'Replicator' by MakerBot. This device looks as if it were only halfway theough the construction and designing stage. However, this odd tech creature does work.
The second 3D-printer, presented on the event, was Cube by 3D Systems, one of the niche leaders. Combined with a special app, developed by Geomatics, this technological wonder can produce even small #D-busts of you in a relatively short time.
So, how does it work and why is it so important to keep an eye on the 3d printers?
First, how it works. You should have a 3D-model of an object you want to be produced, then you press the Print-button, and your device start melting some plastic. After that the molten plastic is given the shape of the produced objects (by putting it in a real big numbers of layers). Finally, the plastic cools down and you get the thing you wanted.
Although nowadays 3D-printing is quite a lengthy process, requiring more than an hour's time to produce a small bust (not taking the modelling time into account), this technology has a huge potential. For example, it may come so that in ten years architectors will be able to produce small models of their buildings in almost no time, boys will be able to get small copies of their favorite tanks or aircraft, and producing fake organs for anatomy students will be so much easier…
Today it's far from coming true, with the prices for the printers soaring high above 1.000 USD. But just think about it for a while and you'll see that that's one of the future trends, like mobile telecommunication or Internet that become part of our everyday life fast as light to stay there forever.