|One of the 3-D printers at work in the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab.
CREDIT: MIT | Melanie Gonick
NEW YORK — The DIY enthusiasts involved in today’s “maker movement” love experimenting with 3D printers to turn digital designs into real-life objects made of plastic, metal, even chocolate. But one of the leading do-it-yourself pioneers has come forth to explain why he really dislikes the 3D printing craze and sees it as just a steppingstone to something greater.
Modern 3D printers use lasers or squirt hot materials to build objects layer by layer from a computer design. They represent the latest in a long line of computer-controlled tools dating back to the 1950s — a more refined way of “metal bashing metal, squirt squirt,” said Neil Gershenfeld, director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms.
“The real revolution in digital fabrication isn’t a computer connected to a machine — that’s decades old,” Gershenfeld said. Instead, the revolution would be “putting the information into the material itself.”