That’s the conclusion of market research company Gartner, which said in a report that 3D printing is already being used widely to make things like hearing aids and dental devices.
Peter Basiliere, a research director at Gartner, said all major hearing aid suppliers are personalised to the shape of a patient’s ear. “This is evidence that using 3D printing for mass customisation of consumer goods is now viable. Routine use of 3D printing for dental implats is also not far from this level of market maturity.”
And while some techs are not being used routinely, they offer promise for better hip and knee replacements, with early trials show a better success rate and faster recovery times.
Basiliere believes that 3D printed hip and knee replacements will be in mainstream use within two to five years.
And, in the future, 3D bioprinting will come into play, capable of “printing” cells, proteins, DNA and drugs.
Advances in 3D scanners will lead to ordinary people being able to produce extraordinary 3D printed items.