“3D printing can be as expressive as painting.”
So says Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics professor and founder of the Centre for Bits & Atoms (CBA) in this SCMP article.Parents! Please take a moment to consider this extremely profound statement by one of the leading technology thinkers of our time. (TheNew York Times has dubbed Dr. Gershenfeld as “the intellectual godfather of the maker movement.”)Our children spend countless hours engaged in various forms of painting – first finger, then brush, on paper, canvas, pottery, toys, etc. Why? Because painting has been an excellent and intuitive way for children to define and express themselves. In fact, this has been the case since our ancestors lived in caves!But with 3D printing, we now have a more streamlined tool to help us move beyond 2D to “paint” in 3D. It’s a huge change! First, just by adding the third dimension, 3D printing allows our children to extend their imagination beyond the two dimensional limitations of a typical flat sheet of paper. Second, as 3D printers improve with lower costs and newer materials, children can consider material as well as color in their creations. Here, 3D printing even surpasses sculpting, which is mainly in one material. Finally, we have already witnessed 3D prints that cannot be made by traditional manufacturing methods, such as this sculpture in the photo below.Given this, can 3D printing be EVEN MORE expressive than painting? How can we use this new tool to help our children reach their full potential? And most importantly, how many of those paintings hanging on refrigerators can be replaced by even more intricate 3D prints? ;) We should wholly support our children to see!