By Brian Krassenstein via 3DPrint.com
What’s the ultimate vision for 3D printers, say 30-50 years in the future? Many within the industry believe that eventually 3D printers will evolve into systems which operate sort of like the Replicator from Star Trek. Yes this certainly sounds like science fiction, but in fact, such a machine should one day be possible.
The first step on the way to developing a Star Trek Replicator, or the Holy Grail of 3D printers, is to get past the single material limitations that most machines have today. Sure, the typical desktop 3D printer can print using multiple types and colors of filament, thanks to multiple extruders, and the more sophisticated and expensive machines are able to print with resins which have multiple properties, but what about printing an object which has a much wider array of materials on a machine that is available at a much cheaper price?
That’s just what MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is trying to do, and they are already off to an incredible start.