The Next Microwave...

Everyone is constantly looking for the next big thing, especially in consumer electronics. The next big thing is at theCO: the 3D printer. 3D printing is exactly what it sounds like. A creator or designer uploads the schematics of a widget to the 3D printer. He simply clicks print, and the machine “prints” the three-dimensional object. The utility of these is shaky right now, but as the technology gets better, it is conceivable that these will be the next big in-home product. Currently, the price is too high, at about $2,500 - $10,000, depending on the size and functionality of the machine. However, initial high prices are commonplace in the tech sector. Consider this. In 1967, Raytheon introduced their first countertop microwave at a price of $475. Not a bad price right? Well, in today dollars, after adjusted for inflation, it would cost $3,501!! Now, a good microwave will run about $100. Look at the history of home computers, televisions, video games, camera phones, digital cameras, and almost any other technology, and you will find a similar pattern. Once the enormous up-front costs of R&D are made by first mover companies, other companies enter the market, improve the product (3D printer in this case), and undercut the price. Seldom is the first person to do something, the most successful. As the technology is better understood, more sellers enter the market, and production efficiency increases, the price will drop. It is not that farfetched to think that in the future, instead of running to the local hardware store or toy store, we will pay to download schematics from the Internet, and just print those screws we lost, or just print that action figure our kids want. Seems unlikely, but 40 years ago, so did me being able to write this blog and post it without pen, paper, and a bulletin board…

Come check out the new 3D printer one day once we have moved into the new space.

                                                                                                                                                -the intern

The MakerBot: Replicator 2, the model we have at theCO

The MakerBot: Replicator 2, the model we have at theCO

Not my design, but cool nonetheless...

Not my design, but cool nonetheless...

Yes, we are geeks...

Yes, we are geeks...