In the not-so-distant future, you may be able to send a message to your refrigerator and have it create a meal for you via three-dimensional printing.
Emerging 3D printer technology, which has the potential to create a multitude of objects such as art, jewelry, personalized dolls and toys, mechanical parts, medical devices and yes, even food, will be on display at Bemidji State University. The demonstration of 3D printing technology, “Taking Shape: 3D Printing,” will be held March 25 from 6-8 p.m. in Room 100 of BSU’s Bridgeman Hall.
The demonstration is offered free of charge, but space is limited and those interested are encouraged to pre-register online.
Using a process often called “additive manufacturing,” 3D printers place material — which can include plastics, concrete, metal, wood, food and even human cells — in precise layered patterns, slowly building up to a completed three-dimensional object. The event, hosted by BSU’s 360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence, will feature live demonstrations of 3D printers in action and presentations on the potential of this still-developing technology.
The demonstration also will include discussion of recent developments in 3D printing technology, which are impacting many segments of society including the arts, education, medicine and business. At the same time, the cost of some 3D printers has dropped to as little as $1,000 per unit, placing the purchase of this technology within reach for small- to mid-sized businesses or organizations and even individuals for use in the home.
The 360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence is a consortium of 13 Minnesota higher education institutions. It is led by Bemidji State University and includes 12 other technical and community colleges in the state. 360° is designing a 21st-century education system that prepares individuals for rewarding careers in manufacturing and meets the needs of the region’s manufacturing employers through an enhanced pipeline, industry-driven curriculum and authentic assessment. 360° is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and received a National Science Foundation award in 2012 to become an Advanced Technological Education Regional Center.