The future is made of plastic and is being gradually spat out of a 3D printer. CNET's convention-centre veteran Luke Westaway took to the floor of London's 3D printer show on Friday to examine trinkets, musical instruments and even replica cat skeletons -- all crafted by these marvellous making machines. Hit play on the video above to see them in action.
3D printers work by taking data from a virtual, computer-designed model and building them slice by slice into three-dimensional objects, which can even feature moving parts. Earlier this year a US designer created a workingthat can be printed, but that barely scratches the surface of what these creator bots are able to achieve.
Experts from industries as diverse as fashion, movie production and architecture are taking advantage of the new technology to assist them creatively. That doesn't necessarily mean we'll all be wearing clothes melded from spools of plastic in the future, but the speed and relative low cost of printing has significantly simplified the process for sampling and testing new designs.
That said, Luke did speak to one jewellery designer who showed him a ring built by a 3D printer, which had mounted upon it a human hand grasping a fistful of real human hair. Freaky!
Even more impressive are the prosthetic limbs created by the printers, which achieve a remarkable standard of symmetry and functionality for wearers, as body parts are scanned in and replicated with complete precision.
Some designers have even managed to create algorithms that allow computers to design objects themselves with no human input. Architects can consider themselves safe for now as the algorithms still need work and significant curating, but our houses of the future could easily be designed and created entirely by machines.
This isn't to say 3D printers are just for manufacturers and architects though -- earlier this year we wentat CES in Las Vegas, which at $1,999 (£1,250) might set you back a pretty penny, but will allow you to print your own designs in your home. Hit play on the video below to see it in action.
What would you like to see crafted by robots in the future? Unwind your spool of thought in the comments below or chug your way over to our Facebook page.