TAMPA — Imagine for a moment the likelihood of simply sitting down at a computer and printing out almost any object of your choice.
Kind of hard to fathom, huh?
Well, the folks at the Museum of Science & Industry are out to prove the phenomenon is not pure fiction, but fact.
3-D Printing the Future — The Exhibition recently debuted at the museum to showcase how the technology for creating a multitude of items in that fashion exists, and its extraordinary potential for changing the way we do business and live our lives.
The technology is an additive technique in which 3-D laser-scanned objects are fabricated from a powdery substance, thin layer after thin layer.
Technological experts say it has the potential to do for manufacturing what computers and the Internet have already done for the creating, processing and storage of information.
The MOSI exhibition demonstrates many of its applications including medicine, in which 3-D-printed medical objects, such as body parts, can be created.
The technology is also being used to build cars and houses, and even to send replacement tools to astronauts in space.
The future usages of 3-D printing in everyday life are mind-boggling, said Anthony Pelaez, MOSI’s director of innovation.
People will likely be able to print replacement parts for their appliances or extra place settings of their silverware patterns. With 3-D printing, there also is the potential to create customized clothing and jewelry.
Visitors to MOSI’s limited-engagement exhibition are invited to witness step-by-step demonstrations of the technology and participate in hands-on workshops.
Guest curators are the University of South Florida’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies, an on-campus 3-D research center. Its use of 3-D printing to restore and preserve endangered global heritage and archaeological treasures is being showcased.
“This is a homegrown exhibition and it is the first 3-D printing exhibition in a museum in the USA,” Pelaez said.
Dr. Lori Collins, AIST director and research assistant professor, is coordinating USF’s portion of the exhibit.
“In the 3-D printing archeology section, we have more than 30 printed documents, such as monuments, artifacts and architectural features from around the world,” Collins said.
In addition, MOSI has partnered with the Dalí Museum to include a display of the latter’s Marvels of Illusion exhibit in the Tampa exhibition, and in turn, MOSI has a 3-D Printing the Future exhibit in the St. Petersburg museum. MOSI will offer a 50 percent discount to anyone with a ticket stub from the Dalí Museum.
The cost of the exhibition is included in the MOSI admission price of $22.95 for adults, $20.95 for seniors ages 60 and older, and $18.95 for children ages 2-12.
Visit www.mosi.org for more information.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]