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TED2014

Avi Reichental: What’s next in 3D printing

March 13, 2014

Just like his beloved grandfather, Avi Reichental is a maker of things. The difference is, now he can use 3D printers to make almost anything, out of almost any material. Reichental tours us through the possibilities of 3D printing, for everything from printed candy to highly custom sneakers.

Avi Reichental - 3D printer
At 3D Systems, Avi Reichental is helping to imagine a future where 3D scanning-and-printing is an everyday act, and food, clothing, objects are routinely output at home. Full bio

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
My grandfather was a cobbler.
00:12
Back in the day, he made custom-made shoes.
00:16
I never got to meet him.
00:19
He perished in the Holocaust.
00:21
But I did inherit his love for making,
00:24
except that it doesn't exist that much anymore.
00:28
You see, while the Industrial Revolution
00:32
did a great deal to improve humanity,
00:35
it eradicated the very skill
00:37
that my grandfather loved,
00:40
and it atrophied craftsmanship as we know it.
00:43
But all of that is about to change with 3D printing,
00:47
and it all started with this,
00:52
the very first part
00:57
that was ever printed.
00:59
It's a little older than TED.
01:01
It was printed in 1983
01:04
by Chuck Hull,
01:06
who invented 3D printing.
01:09
But the thing that I want to talk to you about today,
01:13
the big idea that I want to discuss with you,
01:15
is not that 3D printing
01:17
is going to catapult us into the future,
01:19
but rather that it's actually going
01:22
to connect us with our heritage,
01:24
and it's going to usher in a new era
01:28
of localized, distributed manufacturing
01:31
that is actually based
01:34
on digital fabrication.
01:36
So think about useful things.
01:39
You all know your shoe size.
01:44
How many of you know the size
01:46
of the bridge of your nose
01:48
or the distance between your temples?
01:49
Anybody?
01:53
Wouldn't it be awesome if you could,
01:55
for the first time, get eyewear
01:57
that actually fits you perfectly
01:59
and doesn't require any hinge assembly,
02:03
so chances are, the hinges are not going to break?
02:06
But the implications of 3D printing
02:10
go well beyond the tips of our noses.
02:12
When I met Amanda for the first time,
02:16
she could already stand up and walk a little bit
02:18
even though she was paralyzed from the waist down,
02:21
but she complained to me that her suit
02:24
was uncomfortable.
02:26
It was a beautiful robotic suit
02:28
made by Ekso Bionics,
02:30
but it wasn't inspired by her body.
02:31
It wasn't made to measure.
02:35
So she challenged me to make her something
02:38
that was a little bit more feminine,
02:40
a little bit more elegant,
02:43
and lightweight,
02:47
and like good tailors,
02:48
we thought that we would measure her digitally.
02:49
And we did. We built her an amazing suit.
02:54
The incredible part about what I learned
02:57
from Amanda is a lot of us are looking at 3D printing
03:00
and we say to ourselves,
03:03
it's going to replace traditional methods.
03:05
Amanda looked at it and she said,
03:08
it's an opportunity for me
03:10
to reclaim my symmetry
03:11
and to embrace my authenticity.
03:14
And you know what? She's not standing still.
03:17
She now wants to walk in high heels.
03:19
It doesn't stop there.
03:24
3D printing is changing
03:26
personalized medical devices as we know them,
03:29
from new, beautiful, conformal,
03:32
ventilated scoliosis braces
03:36
to millions of dental restorations
03:39
and to beautiful bracings
03:43
for amputees,
03:46
another opportunity to emotionally reconnect
03:50
with your symmetry.
03:53
And as we sit here today,
03:55
you can go wireless on your braces
03:58
with clear aligners,
04:00
or your dental restorations.
04:03
Millions of in-the-ear hearing aids
04:05
are already 3D printed today.
04:07
Millions of people are served today
04:10
from these devices.
04:12
What about full knee replacements,
04:15
from your data, made to measure,
04:18
where all of the tools and guides are 3D printed?
04:22
G.E. is using 3D printing
04:26
to make the next generation LEAP engine
04:30
that will save fuel to the tune
04:32
of about 15 percent
04:36
and cost for an airline
04:39
of about 14 million dollars.
04:41
Good for G.E., right?
04:43
And their customers and the environment.
04:45
But, you know, the even better news
04:47
is that this technology is no longer reserved
04:50
for deep-pocketed corporations.
04:53
Planetary Resources, a startup
04:56
for space explorations
04:59
is going to put out its first
space probe later this year.
05:01
It was a fraction of a NASA spaceship,
05:05
it costs a fraction of its cost,
05:09
and it's made with less than a dozen moving parts,
05:12
and it's going to be out in space later this year.
05:16
Google is taking on this very audacious project
05:19
of making the block phone, the Ara.
05:23
It's only possible because of the development
05:25
of high-speed 3D printing that for the first time
05:28
will make functional, usable modules
05:30
that will go into it.
05:35
A real moonshot, powered by 3D printing.
05:36
How about food?
05:40
What if we could, for the first time,
05:42
make incredible delectables
05:45
like this beautiful TED Teddy here,
05:48
that are edible?
05:52
What if we could completely
change the experience,
05:54
like you see with that absinthe serving
05:58
that is completely 3D printed?
06:02
And what if we could begin to put ingredients
06:05
and colors and flavors in every taste,
06:10
which means not only delicious foods
06:14
but the promise of personalized nutrition
06:16
around the corner?
06:20
And that gets me to one of the
biggest deals about 3D printing.
06:22
With 3D printing, complexity is free.
06:25
The printer doesn't care
06:28
if it makes the most rudimentary shape
06:30
or the most complex shape,
06:33
and that is completely turning design
06:35
and manufacturing on its head as we know it.
06:38
Many people think that 3D printing will be
06:42
the end of manufacturing as we know it.
06:44
I think that it's the opportunity to put
06:48
tomorrow's technology in the hands of youngsters
06:51
that will create endless abundance
06:54
of job opportunities,
06:57
and with that,
06:59
everybody can become an expert maker
07:01
and an expert manufacturer.
07:04
That will take new tools.
07:06
Not everybody knows how to use CAD,
07:08
so we're developing haptics,
07:10
perceptual devices
07:12
that will allow you to touch
07:14
and feel your designs
07:16
as if you play with digital clay.
07:18
When you do things like that,
07:21
and we also developed things that take
07:23
physical photographs that are instantly printable,
07:25
it will make it easier to create content,
07:27
but with all of the unimagined,
07:30
we will also have the unintended,
07:33
like democratized counterfeiting
07:35
and ubiquitous illegal possession.
07:40
So many people ask me,
07:43
will we have a 3D printer in every home?
07:45
I think it's the wrong question to ask.
07:47
The right question to ask is,
07:50
how will 3D printing change my life?
07:51
Or, in other words, what room in my house
07:55
will 3D printing fit in?
07:57
So everything that you see here
07:59
has been 3D printed,
08:01
including these shoes
08:03
at the Amsterdam fashion show.
08:06
Now, these are not my grandfather's shoes.
08:09
These are shoes that represent
08:12
the continuation of his passion
08:14
for hyper-local manufacturing.
08:16
My grandfather didn't get to see Nike
08:19
printing cleats for the recent Super Bowl,
08:24
and my father didn't get to see me standing
08:28
in my hybridized 3D printed shoes.
08:32
He passed away three years ago.
08:35
But Chuck Hull, the man that invented it all,
08:38
is right here in the house today,
08:41
and thanks to him,
08:43
I can say, thanks to his invention, I can say
08:45
that I am a cobbler too,
08:48
and by standing in these shoes
08:50
I am honoring my past
08:52
while manufacturing the future.
08:55
Thank you.
08:57
(Applause)
08:58

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Avi Reichental - 3D printer
At 3D Systems, Avi Reichental is helping to imagine a future where 3D scanning-and-printing is an everyday act, and food, clothing, objects are routinely output at home.

Why you should listen

Avi Reichental is the CEO of 3D Systems, which has been a major force in the field of rapid prototyping, turning a design from a CAD file into a solid object. But now, he's thinking about the idea of a 3D printer in every house. It's coming, he says, and we should think about what our lives will be like when we can design everything in our lives, then make it.
 
Lately, he's been demo-ing the Cube, a tabletop 3D printer that can print a basketball-sized object, and the ChefJet, a food-grade machine that prints in sugar and chocolate (see Time’s 25 Best Inventions of 2014). His company is also rolling out consumer-grade 3D scanning cameras that clip to a tablet to capture three-dimensional objects for printing out later. He's an instructor at Singularity University (watch his 4-minute intro to 3D printing).

More amazing video from 3D Systems' video library

"The Things We Make " (1:40)

"In Her Own Words: Amanda Boxtel and the 3D Printed Exoskeleton " (2:30)
The original video is available on TED.com
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