“3D printing can be as expressive as painting.”

So says Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics professor and founder of the Centre for Bits & Atoms (CBA) in this SCMP article.

Parents! Please take a moment to consider this extremely profound statement by one of the leading technology thinkers of our time. (The New York Times has dubbed Dr. Gershenfeld as “the intellectual godfather of the maker movement.”)

CBA

Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Our children spend countless hours engaged in various forms of painting – first finger, then brush, on paper, canvas, pottery, toys, etc. Why? Because painting has been an excellent and intuitive way for children to define and express themselves. In fact, this has been the case since our ancestors lived in caves!

But with 3D printing, we now have a more streamlined tool to help us move beyond 2D to “paint” in 3D. It’s a huge change! First, just by adding the third dimension, 3D printing allows our children to extend their imagination beyond the two dimensional limitations of a typical flat sheet of paper. Second, as 3D printers improve with lower costs and newer materials, children can consider material as well as color in their creations. Here, 3D printing even surpasses sculpting, which is mainly in one material. Finally, we have already witnessed 3D prints that cannot be made by traditional manufacturing methods, such as this sculpture in the photo below.

A woman stands behind the a 3D printed sculptur ‘Myrstaw’ by Belgian designer Nick Ervinck during the international fairs FabCon 3.D and Rapid.Tech in Erfurt, central Germany, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. 145 exhibitors from all over the world present their products until June 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Given this, can 3D printing be EVEN MORE expressive than painting? How can we use this new tool to help our children reach their full potential? And most importantly, how many of those paintings hanging on refrigerators can be replaced by even more intricate 3D prints? 😉 We should wholly support our children to see!

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