Augmented / Virtual Reality and 3D Printing

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Augmented reality and 3D printing, while vastly different technologies, circle around the same general concept: bridging the gap between the physical world and the digital world. 3D printing makes the digital physical, and augmented reality enhances the physical world with digital overlays.

The onset of virtual-reality (VR) headsets such as HTC’s Vive, Oculus Rift, and Samsung’s Gear VR have given designers an unprecedented viewpoint in allowing them to visualize their creations in a 3D environment and edit them in real time.

3D modeling companies, like Autodesk, Dassault Systems, and PTC Creo, are adopting VR technology and implementing it into their respective platforms. Combining CAD, VR, and 3D printing provide a one-stop shop for bringing 3D models to fruition—meaning you can visualize your creation, manipulate it, and prototype it without the need to outsource any part of the project from the design phase onward. No intermediaries, no increased funding required.

Merging the technologies of 3D-printing, CAD, and virtual-reality could eliminate the need to outsource. This can ultimately lead to a “one-stop shop” for 3D modeling. It will be possible to design and edit CAD models in a virtual- or mixed-reality environment and then readily 3D-print those models when finished.

Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and 3D-printing as technologies are transforming media and entertainment and have already impacted the world of Chemistry and Biology. These technologies have an immense potential for research and dissemination.