As one traverses through these technologically galloping times, one wonders in amazement at many new developments - robots that can be programmed to become security guards; a small chip that can hold trillion bytes (a terabyte) of data; helium balloons or drones to reach areas where cell towers cannot; the  list is endless.  

And, now we are seeing the huge potential of 3D printing - prosthetic limbs being 3D printed, fully functional 3D printed buildings (see PrintWeek MEA article in August 2015 issue - Dubai to build world’s 1st fully functional 3D printed building) - even a 3D printed turbopump tested by NASA.  The potential and possibilities of 3D printing are mind boggling.

While commercial gains from new technology, research or developments is very important; it is even more imperative that all these advances can be used to improve the lives of the marginalized, the unfortunate or the poor.  

So, if 3D technology can be used to create limbs for victims of war, cheap housing, making water collectors out of waste plastic for rain deficient regions, reduce costs of essentials - it will be actual breakthrough technology, one that is humane and used for the betterment of society .  

When human resource, talent, funds are used for social and economic upliftment, we shall see real progress.


Shilpa Jasani is the editor of PrintWeek MEA magazine.