Avi Reichental – CEO, 3D Systems
My grandfather was a cobbler. Back in the day, he made custom-made shoes. I never got to meet him. He perished in the Holocaust. But I did inherit his love for making, except that it doesn’t exist that much anymore. You see, while the Industrial Revolution did a great deal to improve humanity, it eradicated the very skill that my grandfather loved, and it atrophied craftsmanship as we know it.
But all of that is about to change with 3D printing, and it all started with this, the very first part that was ever printed. It’s a little older than TED. It was printed in 1983 by Chuck Hull, who invented 3D printing. But the thing that I want to talk to you about today, the big idea that I want to discuss with you, is not that 3D printing is going to catapult us into the future, but rather that it’s actually going to connect us with our heritage, and it’s going to usher in a new era of localized, distributed manufacturing that is actually based on digital fabrication.
So think about useful things. You all know your shoe size. How many of you know the size of the bridge of your nose or the distance between your temples? Anybody? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could, for the first time, get eyewear that actually fits you perfectly and doesn’t require any hinge assembly, so chances are, the hinges are not going to break? But the implications of 3D printing go well beyond the tips of our noses.