For the last half-decade, three-dimensional printing has been billed as the next revolution in manufacturing. The Economist and Wired have declared it world-changing technology. Last year, retailers including Staples and Amazon began to sell their own 3-D printers, and this year, Amazon has introduced a marketplace for 3-D printed objects.
3D printing is going to change everything... or not. It depends on who you talk to. Like any technology, it's almost impossible to accurately gauge just what the impact of said technology will ultimately be.
In the case of 3D printing, there's no denying that the implications are enormous. Where once robots were feared to be taking over human jobs, 3D printing may render that conversation largely moot.
So what's all the hoopla? What can 3D printing do, and what can it not? The Times recently opened up its Room for Debate series to that question. The result is an informed, lively debate on what the future holds.