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3D printing will go mainstream, printing at home?
It's Star Trek technology or primitive replicators coming to our century. Printing was, for years, limited to the business environment. Eventually it arrived in homes to consumer users. But, the next step in printing comes in three-dimensions -- 3D printing -- giving users the ability to 'print' (with lasers and computer-aided cutting machines) items for machines, computers, and even body parts.
It will only be a matter of time before home users will be able to download schematics and blueprints from the Web and create their own products from their home office as the technology becomes more simplified.
It's a distance away yet, but 2013 will see a dramatic rise in the 3D printing sector, along with the associated ethical issues with it. Should you be able to print a firearm at home? Should 3D printers be used with stem cells to build body parts? And should the schematics or blueprints be offered through 'pirate' sites? Where there will be 3D printing, there will likely be strict regulation.
Augmented reality will become... reality with Google Glass, others
A relatively new technology, the idea of 'augmented reality' in the real world involves holding up a phone's camera to produce real-life items that will 'light up' and display information. Your phone's screen is a looking glass to the wider world, and you could explore your surroundings with 'hidden' nuggets pulled from the Web.
With the announcement of Google Glass earlier this year, the search giant is bringing the augmented 'reality' one step closer by cutting out the middle-man device. The glasses include a heads-up display where those who wear the device can check their messages, record video, and see additional information about the environment they are in.
While Google Glass isn't expected until 2014, the wider industry will be working frantically to bring their own offerings to the table. It will also open up the floodgates to other competitors jumping in and offering their own solutions to a problem that never actually existed. Perhaps a fad for now, augmented reality and Google Glass-like functionality could be the first step -- aside from human bionic limbs -- toward the 'humanification' of technology. Watch this space in 2013.