Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

August 25, 2013

ED VASICEK: Weird or not, here comes the future

Flying saucers, 3D printing expected

My buddy Emil and I had been collecting articles about the future for one of our discussion nights. Marylu and Emil’s wife, Edna, decided to run to the store after a fine dinner.

“Well, Ed, I have a good one. It’s about 3D printing. It has been around since 1984, but it is set to boom. Prices are going down, and it means that even small businesses could manufacture what they need.”

“Really?” I asked in surprise. He enlightened me by reading an article from Wikipedia:

“‘... 3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes ... Since the start of the 21st century there has been a large growth in the sales of these machines, and their price has dropped substantially.

“The 3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, construction … industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military, engineering, civil engineering, dental and medical industries ... fashion, footwear, jewelry, eyewear, education, geographic information systems, food, and many other fields.’”

“And,” Emil added, “It may soon become a popular home product; instead of buying shoes, for example, you download a pattern and the 3D printer manufacturers it for you. Isn’t that crazy?”

I nodded as I processed this information. After a contemplative pause, it was my turn.

“Well,” I began, “maybe you have heard that the government was trying to develop a flying saucer back in the 1950s and admitted to testing it in ‘Area 51?’ The Christian Science Monitor had an article about it.” I began reading an excerpt:

“‘The saucer development was carried out by Avro Aircraft Ltd., a Canadian firm. The firm attempted to design a flat, circular vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft that could fly as high as 100,000 feet at great speed.’”

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