Last night on The Glenn Beck Program, Glenn unveiled a variety of projects and items that are being worked on in the American Dream Labs. One of these items was invented in the Labs, but Glenn and his team are using it and believe it will change the way the world does business, the 3-D printer.
"This is the latest greatest technology," Glenn told listeners this morning. "This is the something that we just purchased for the Dream Labs Friday. And I wanted to get it in here quickly because I wanted to show it to this week."
Glenn explained that, while this 3-D printer is small in size, they make them much MUCH bigger. 3-D printers are so amazing because you can replicate just about anything into a carbon fiber 3-dimensional replica. Today's test object was a plastic shark.
While 3-D printing technology will be absolutely revolutionary as it becomes more accessible, it will also have a huge impact on the economy, manufacturing in-particular.
"You can make anything. The real scary thing about this is what this will do to patents. What this does to art. I wonder, and I haven't been willing to google it, but I wonder what it means for currency," Glenn explained.
Already there are websites that give you the dimensions of common, every day items that you can feed in for the printer to create. Because of this ability to create something completely out of nothing or recreate just about anything, Glenn explained that all of the information on gun is being removed from these sites.
Beyond that, there apps that you can download directly to your iPhone (123D Catch). This app allows you to simply take photos of the items you want to re-create, and that information gives the 3-D printer everything it needs.
To put this into perspective on the effect this could have on industry, Glenn explained that when he had an artist create an exact replica of the bust of Winston Churchill for the Oval on set. But, since Glenn already had photos of the bust, he could have used the 3-D printer to re-create the bust.
"The only time I've seen technology like this cause a stir in a building is the first time i saw a big huge black box when I was working in Seattle — it was 1982 — and it had no markings on it. All it said was Philips. And they brought it in to test it. They only had one thing they could test it on, and I went in and I watched them do the test. I was absolutely amazed. It was called a compact disc player," Glenn said.
If you consider how far past a CD player we are now in the music world, considering where a 3-D printer could taking all kinds of industry is mind-blowing.
"Here's the thing," Glenn started. "How does this affect? Jobs will come back to America, because you'll be able to make things again. Because — remember this is early technology here — as this gets better and better and cheaper and cheaper you'll be able to make everything in America. However, those aren't manufacturing jobs. Those aren't labor union job. Those aren't dolt jobs, per se. You will be able to make anything you want. So our economy in the entire world is turned upside down. You don't need slave children in China stuff. The replicator 2000 will do it for it you. It's than amazing advance."
Many industries that work with new technology and product development are already implementing 3-D printing in pretty amazing ways. Among these is the aerospace and automotive industries, which are saving upwards of tens of thousands of dollars using these machines to replicate parts, models, and bring the innovations they've designed in a computer to life.
However, as with many innovations that put the power back into our own hands, there is a responsibility and a danger attached. How will this effect patents? How will this keep individuals from counterfeiting products? Like Glenn said on radio this morning, this has the possibility of turning into Napster.