Author Archives: Tom Cullen

The Future of 3D Printing and its Societal Impacts

This blog post is about the ways in which 3D printing technology will advance and the overall societal impact that it will have. I discuss the ways in which nanotechnology and 3D printing are coming together to produce object such as nano-robots and complex circuit architecture. I continue by discussing the ways in which the theoretical creation of nano/molecular assemblers will change the way humanity relates to matter and with each other. An organization called the Open Source Nano Replicator Initiative is planning on creating a molecular assembler that will build molecules from atomic raw materials, and then chemically bond these molecules together on top of each other to create an object. They believe that this will have effects on humanity that are unprecedented because molecular assemblers in the hands of everyone would theoretically end scarcity of matter in our reality. Additionally, I discuss the ways in which 3D printing can currently be used for consumers and manufacturers to corroborate on objects to “debug” and perfect them similarly to the way a software company releases a beta of their product to be tested by consumers.


The Societal Impacts of 3D Printing

Legal Issues of the 3D printing of Organs

The main legal issues that I focused on are over the ownership of the artificially created organs as well as the implications that 3D printing has on the black market sale of organs. The main conclusions that I found were that there is a possibility that the data file of a person’s organ could have split ownership between the subject is came from and the doctors/scientists that transformed it into a data file. The other conclusion that I found pertained to the possible effect that it would have on the black market for organs. The unlimited replication potential will help cause the supply to increase of organs, which will lower the incentive for people to head to the black market in the first place to get an organ. Currently, people wait on donation lists- but some people decided that the black market sale and transplant is more worth their time. The increased supply of organs would alleviate some of demand on the black market because people will be less desperate, but there still remains an issue of getting the organ transplanted by a professional doctor.


3D Printing and Modern Medicine

3d printing is disrupting the way reconstructive surgeries are carried out as well as the way doctors understand the problem in a specific region of a patients body. However, there are still many revolutions to be made with 3D printing in the medical field- especially in the field of organ transplant alternatives.