I am a huge fan of Amara’s Law, and have been known to quote it extensively in talks. This is because humans are not very good at estimating things. Especially estimating what technologies will have long term impact on our lives.
3D printing is such a thing. This is a technology that is going to reshape things in major ways in the future. We got a taste of this recently with the new World’s first 3D-printed steel footbridge unveiled by Queen Máxima in Amsterdam
This new use of 3D printing and design technology enables design by experiment, through the use of a digitally-driven design process. The design team was able to run digital simulations of the bridge until deciding on an optimal shape. The process is outlined here.
This project also has the potential to monitor the bridge for potential failure via use of sensors:
This is the first time that a large-scale piece of urban infrastructure has been created in this way. But it will not be the last.