Home 3D printer The Micro not only met its Kickstarter goal in eleven minutes, but after just a day the crowdsourced desktop fabricator has broken through the $1m mark. Demand for the simplified printer - reward tiers for which started at $199 for a unit when they ship, though quickly shot up to $299 - has made The Micro the most popular Kickstarter project on the site at right now, despite still having 28 days left to run.
3D printing may be the future, but it's generally a relatively expensive one, something startup M3D hopes to change with its compact The Micro model. Fresh to Kickstarter today - and already more than quadrupling its target of $50,000 in under an hour - The Micro is scaled to produce jewelry, custom toys, and other small objects, hooking up via USB to Windows, Mac, or Linux.
The convenience of 3D printing has moved away from industrial design and products to architecture. We are not talking about scale models to showcase the blueprints or interiors, but in fact full-scale homes. The 3D Print Canal House designed by Dus Architects is as close to a concept structure as it is to art, and will soon dot the landscape of Amsterdam.
Philips' hue system of smart home lighting is already pretty eye-catching when it cycles through colors, but the company is turning to 3D printing to make things even more dramatic. The new Philips 3D-printed smart luminaires will be available in table-lamp and pendant versions, and combine the color changing that hue is known for with unique designs from WertelOberfell and Strand+Hvass.
HP is promising to shake up the 3D printer industry with new technology that not only makes the process faster but delivers higher-quality models, with CEO Meg Whitman teasing a reveal in June. Waiting for a current-gen 3D printer to finish is "like watching ice melt" Whitman snarked during HP's shareholder meeting this week, going on to suggest that the company had figured out a better, swifter way.
MakerBot is one of the most popular names in 3D printers and during CES 2014 the company announced new products. One of those new products was the Replicator Z18 3D printer. This is the largest of the 3D printers that MakerBot offers.
LEGO is exploring 3D printing as a potential way for fans to produce their own custom bricks, as a way to stave off all-virtual world building games like Minecraft. The plastic brick company - which has already worked with Google on a virtual LEGO game playable in the Chrome browser - describes its attitude toward 3D printing as one of trying to convert it into "an opportunity for us," CMO Mads Nipper suggests.
Wearables start-up Meta has spilled its first demo of the latest Meta.01 developer edition augmented reality headset in action, promising shipping of the wearable computer from as early as the end of April. The wearable, which uses twin transparent displays to overlay digital graphics on top of the real-world, will come preloaded with a gesture-controlled sculpting and 3D printing app, which Meta has demonstrated in its new video: the wearer is able to indicate the shape of the required object in front of them with their fingers, and have that virtual shape automatically rendered for a 3D printer and made real.
The continued exploration of 3D printing has resulted in a variety of uses and materials, some of them promising huge breakthroughs in the future, and others refining the way existing projects and technologies are approached. Regarding that latter category, the company 4 AXYZ has developed a method for 3D printing wood furniture with embedded electronics.