3-D metal printing will be one of this year’s cutting edge technologies. That’s according to MIT Technology Review’s latest 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2018 ranking. Because while printing objects with anything other than plastics has to date has been expensive and slow, 3-D metal printing is fast becoming easy and cheap enough to be a potentially practical way of manufacturing parts.
GE, for one, now boasts a test version of its new metal printer that is speedy enough to make large parts. And the company aims to begin selling the printer this year.
“The technology can create lighter, stronger parts, and complex shapes that aren’t possible with conventional metal fabrication methods,” says MIT Technology Review. “It can also provide more precise control of the microstructure of metals.”
Beyond metal, the ranking also includes innovations such as the smart city, AI for everybody, instant-translation earbuds and zero-carbon natural gas.