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While Augmented reality and 3D printing have both already been around for a while, these two emerging technologies are expected to continue hitting the headlines in 2016, according to Gartner Inc.

formlabs-raises-venture-funding-form-1-3d-printer

A lot of articles have already discussed about how 3D printing actually works. It is the process of making a digital file made with CAD (Computer Aided Design) or animation modeling software into a solid object in the physical world. 3D printing allows you to take your ideas from concept into creation. Companies such as HP Inc. and Autodesk are buying into this market and fuelling up to make it as the major part of their businesses.

augmented reality and 3d printing

Likewise, augmented reality allows computer-generated content to be superimposed over a live camera view of the physical world. There are particular innovations in augmented reality as we have discussed in our previous article. A number of big tech players are fanatically investing in this technology and now in different stages of development – Facebook is now tapping into augmented reality after its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus Virtual Reality in 2014; Microsoft’s HoloLens is to be released in early 2016; Sony is working on a pair of augmented reality glasses called SmartEyeglass; and even Disney is bringing coloring books to life with augmented reality.

These two technologies are clearly rapidly revolutionizing the established industries such as healthcare, architecture, manufacturing and education.

So you asked: is it possible to combine these two amazing technologies together?

Well, why not?

There have been quite a few discussions and projects going on regarding the potential connections between 3D printing and augmented reality. Augmented reality could be used as a preview function of 3D printing. Just as 3D printing speeds up the manufacturing and prototyping process, augmented reality can stimulate the modeling process before it is sent to a 3D printer.

HP is to allow users play with 3D images on its mobile devices by using augmented reality that can then be created in a 3D printer. And Autodesk is teaming up with Microsoft to ingrain its Spark 3D platform into Windows 10. Its 3D models will then be compatible with Microsoft’s augmented reality device HoloLens.

3D-printed-sound-sculpture-with-AR-from-reify
Source: 3D Printing Industry

Some other small players in the market are also showing their great ambitions in the use of these two technologies.

A new NYC-based startup Reify uses 3D printing and augmented reality to make music listening experience tangible.  And an US Star Wars fan has just recreated a holographic chess game, exactly like the one shown in Star Wars: A New Hope, by using 3D printing and augmented reality technologies.

Things to expect in the coming years based on these two emerging technologies will continue to challenge our existing knowledge, and we can’t wait to see and experience what’s awaiting ahead of us! Because when you change the way you see the world, you can change the world you see.

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