Where this great research of Paul Brody from IBM differs from so many other researches on the development of 3D printing is that Paul sees 3D printing as more than a manufacturing technology. According to him it is a software-enabled ecosystem.
This ecosystem includes 3D printers, but also a number of additional elements. CAD applications for designing machinery and items; scanners for mapping objects digitally; and maybe the most important one: online collaboration, much of which is open source.
Paul: “What does this add up to? Huge growth. Thingiverse, the most popular online design sharing community, is seeing an exponential increase in the number of items being shared”:
“Not only are the number of items being shared online growing, the number of parts in each design is steadily rising as well, an indicator that design complexity is increasing as well”:
In addition to the research, Paul Brody included the full presentation from his keynote that he held this monday at Siemens Global Innovation Summit. This presentation is definitely worth giving a read. Thanks Paul for your work!