When w embarked on my journey in 3D Printing, my partner and I made a pact with a modest goal: to speak professionally about 3D printing at conferences.
I made good on that pact in 2017, when I was invited to speak at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. As a longtime technologist, this was a dream made real- CES is THE largest consumer electronics show around! I was sharing the stage with luminaries in the industry, the changemakers who will transform 3D printing from a niche technology to the only way things are made. To say I was excited, was an understatement.
My talk, entitled Closing the Loops: 3D Printing & IoT, speaks to the convergence and overlap of two foundational technologies of the future. I cover three areas of convergence and an illustrative case study from my work at Intel. A few takeaways:
- 3D Printing used to be just for rapid prototyping. Today it’s being used as a finished good or to produce finished goods. Customization and complexity is “free” in the design of these objects using modern 3D modeling tools.
- Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that connects everyday objects to the web, which enables sensor data collection. Embedding sensors in objects will allow us to characterize their performance and profoundly change our ability to create personalized objects at scale.
- Automating the application of sensor data to personalization will require machine learning. Quality control for the manufacture of these personalizations will require smarter 3D printers.
- Removing friction from the design and manufacture of highly personalized objects is the real business need that will drive this convergence. The UNYQ Align Scoliosis brace illustrates this convergence perfectly; it is 3D printed brace, custom fit to the patient, and updated every few months. Intel helped UNYQ add an IoT sensor that changed the way it’s made. My talk is really about the transformation of Grace, the first user.
As a bonus, I was invited to participate on a panel discussion about future directions of 3D printing, with the inimitable Derek Mathers (Worrell) and Dror Danai (XJet). I met a number of incredible people by speaking at CES, some of whom have become collaboration partners. I learned a lot from this experience, but the most important is that storytelling is a powerful way to join complex technology concepts together. I was initially hesitant, because storytelling sometimes isn’t seen as professional speaking. This opportunity only opened up when someone connected to that story.
As I prepare to leave for CES 2018, I’m sharing my CES 2017 below. Regretfully, it wasn’t recorded, but my friends in the audience snapped some pictures. I hope you can live my dream a little and that you get a chance to live yours.